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Opinion: Let’s get moving on CPTPP

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, prime minister and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
The Honourable Andrew Scheer, leader of the Official Opposition and leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada

Sept 12, 2018

Dear Messrs. Trudeau, Scheer, Singh and Ms. May:

As the voice of Canadian agri-food exporters, representing the 90 per cent of farmers, ranchers, producers, processors and agri-food exporters who depend on stable, predictable and preferential access to international markets for their livelihoods, I am writing about the urgent need for Canada to ratify and bring into force the Comprehensive and Progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

As you know, this vital and potentially transformative trade agreement will come into force 60 days after the first six countries ratify it. While we welcomed the introduction of legislation before the summer recess, other CPTPP countries are moving more swiftly to take the necessary steps to bring the agreement into force. In July, Singapore became the third country to ratify the pact after Mexico and Japan. Others including Chile, Australia, New Zealand and Peru are expected to follow suit shortly.

Given the unprecedented trade uncertainty facing Canada due to the Trump administration’s increasingly aggressive protectionism, improved access to dynamic Pacific markets is now more important than ever. Canada’s economy depends on stable and open trade. As the second-largest economy at the table after Japan, Canada has the opportunity to play a leadership role and show that we stand tall on the world stage in support of free, open, rules-based trade.

According to research commissioned by the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA), this trade pact could increase Canadian agri-food exports by nearly $2 billion annually for a variety of agriculture products including beef, pork, grains, canola, pulses, soybeans, barley, sugar and processed foods.

The first-mover advantage is real in trade deals and Canada cannot afford to be left behind by our competitors. Thousands of Canadian jobs and billions of dollars are at stake. It’s imperative that parliamentarians come together and act swiftly to ratify the CPTPP.

We urge all parliamentarians in both Houses to take the steps necessary for Canada to be among the first six countries to bring the CPTPP into law. Implementing the CPTPP will help us diversify Canada’s trade and demonstrate how political leaders of all stripes can deliver results for Canadians.

I thank you for considering this urgent matter. I look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions you may have.

Sincerely yours,
Brian Innes, CAFTA president

This open letter was sent to Canada’s political leaders by the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA).

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