While Mexico and Canada wrangle with the United States on M-COOL through the World Trade Organization, the U.S. passes the Trade Promotion Authority where it appears all farm commodity groups are falling over each other in happiness and appeasement.
Why not fix one before going on to another says one industry and trade observer. That doesn’t stop Canada’s Meat Council saying how much it will help Canadian livestock producers.
The Canadian Meat Council says U.S. passage of the TPA will open the door to a speedy completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
Last month, president Barack Obama signed into law the Trade Promotion Authority, a bill which clears the way for the U.S. Congress to either accept or reject a U.S. free trade agreement in its entirety.
Ron Davidson, the director of international trade, government and media relations with the CMC, says without the TPA, the other 11 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations did not wish to place their ultimate concessions on the table, so with passage of the bill, it’s possible to move forward quickly toward completion of the negotiations.
“When you have 12 countries participating everyone has their own sensitivities so it necessary to address those sensitivities,” said Davidson. “This is a very ambitious trade agreement which started out with the intent of having true free trade among all 12 countries and the negotiations have proceeded along that track. We don’t expect it will eliminate all tariffs by the end of the agreement but certainly we expect most of them will be.”
He thinks most of the Canadian economy sectors it would be fair to say are urging the government to be fully committed, fully involved in these negotiations and to be a full partner at the end of the day.
“Given, as I said earlier, the coverage of 40 per cent of the world economy already and that’s before new countries may enter, it is most important that we be part of that deal,” said Davidson. “So we’re looking forward to quick movement and quick conclusion of the deal among all 12 countries including Canada as a full partner.”
Davidson says, as additional countries join the TPA, the best place to be is in at the beginning because those who come in a year later will have to pay, so being there as a founding member is absolutely critical.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has repeatedly called on the U.S. to secure TPA before Canada considers making any concessions on the agriculture file.
Manitoban Rick Bergmann, the president of the Canadian Pork Council said earlier, if there is a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, Canada needs to be part of it.
The CPC released a report outlining the potential impact participating in a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement will have on Canada’s pork industry.

The report, prepared by Kevin Grier of Kevin Grier Market Analysis and Consulting, examines the importance of pork exports to the Canadian economy, with a particular emphasis on exports to Japan.
Bergmann says being part of this agreement with the 11 other countries involved in the negotiations could result in a rapid increase in exports to Japan and greater access to other export markets.
“As far as Japan alone, in 2014 Canadian pork exported nearly one billion dollars worth of product to that country so it’s currently a very significant customer for us,” he says. “It’s a high end customer with the types of cuts that they do purchase from Canadian processors and meat traders.”
Bergmann says it’s significant for Canadian pork producers because these exports create over 46,000 jobs for farmers, processors, ag suppliers, and so on, and that’s a huge output of approximately 11 billion dollars for Canada.
Bergmann warns, if Canada isn’t part of this agreement, they could see those exports to Japan decline.
He refers to a previous experience, where other nations reached free trade agreements with South Korea and Canada didn’t, resulting in declining exports to that market.
“That shows us just the importance of these types of free trade agreements, and I don’t to see a repeat of that with nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”  •
— By Harry Siemens