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January 25, 2018updated 08 Apr 2021 7:48am

Canada’s food industry gives mixed reaction to new TPP deal

The prospect of a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal coming into force has been met with a mixed reaction from Canada's food industry.

By Dean Best

The prospect of a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal coming into force has been met with a mixed reaction from Canada’s food industry.

Earlier this week, it emerged the TPP agreement is set to proceed, a year after the US pulling out of the compact looked set to torpedo the deal.

Eleven countries, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico, have agreed to a revised trade deal – to be known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The newly-forged accord follows two days of high-level talks in Tokyo. The partners are now expected to work towards signing the deal in Chile in March.

The Canadian government claimed the fresh deal was “great news for Canadian farmers and food processors”. However, while the country’s meat sector agreed, the agreement was criticised by Canada’s dairy industry and its egg farmers.

“On the one hand, the Canadian government has repeatedly stated that it wants a vibrant, strong, and growing dairy sector that creates jobs and fosters investments; on the other hand, it continues to carve out pieces of our domestic dairy market, first through CETA [Canada’s trade deal with the EU], and now through the CPTPP,” Pierre Lampron, the president of dairy-farming lobby group Dairy Farmers of Canada, said. “The Government must understand that in continuing to make these concessions, they are putting the Canadian dairy sector in jeopardy.”

Dairy Farmers of Canada questioned why the concessions Ottawa made when the US was still part of the agreement remained in place, an argument echoed by its counterpart in the egg industry.

“The outcome of the CPTPP agreement means difficult challenges for Canada’s egg farmers, their communities and many farms and businesses they support,” Roger Pelissero, the chairman of Egg Farmers of Canada, said. “Once fully implemented, Canadian egg farmers will have lost the right to produce close to 291 million dozen eggs, with an additional 19m dozen eggs added each year after the implementation phase. The total value of the trade deal represents close to CAD1bn (US$808m) in lost farm family income.”

However, Canada’s meat industry talked up the opportunity for higher sales for its members. The Canadian Meat Council said it was “confident” the deal has “the potential” to increase beef and pork sales by “at least CAD500m.

“I can say with confidence that our industry is ready to get to work.” Chris White, the council’s president, said. “This gives Canada preferential access to other suppliers allowing our members to remain competitive in the Pacific market for sales of beef and pork.”

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