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TPP deal reached despite Canadian clamour

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Meeting on the fringes of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, remaining members of TPP agreed a framework for a rejigged trade deal, henceforth known by a new acronym: the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

For meat, the agreement means increased market access, with food and agriculture set to be big winners in a deal that will cut 95% of trade tariffs for countries signed up to CPTPP.

Canadian outcry

Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, said: “This deal simultaneously opens up multiple markets in Japan, Mexico, Peru and Canada and puts us on a level playing field with other major red meat exporters in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Australia and the European Union.

Over 90 percent of New Zealand’s sheepmeat and 80 percent of our beef production is exported. These exports support around 60,000 jobs on farms and in processing companies, and a further 20,000 jobs in supplying sectors.​”

While New Zealand’s meat trade advocates welcomed the deal, Canada caused a stir when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly failed to turn up to the meeting.

Government will not ‘rush’ into deal

In response, Canadian Meat Council warned that the country could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in trade revenue which could “spell disaster​” for meatpackers and processors.

Chris White, the trade body’s CEO, added: “Although we are disappointed in this latest obstacle to a TPP-11 deal, we remain hopeful that Canada will continue talks with participating countries.​”

In response, the Canadian government said it was “committed [to] free and fair trade​” and but added it would not be “rushed into an agreement​”.

François-Philippe Champagne, minister of international trade, said: “We are pleased that progress is being made towards a possible agreement, but there is still some work to be done. Our priority is to ensure that it is the right deal for Canadian workers and businesses. We will only sign onto a deal that reflects Canada’s interests and meets our objectives to create and sustain well-paying middle class jobs in today’s competitive global economy.​”

CPTPP was negotiated between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and New Zealand.

Core details have been agreed upon, with only four issues still to be resolved: Vietnamese sanctions, Canada’s demand for a cultural exception policy, rules on state-owned firms in Malaysia and a commitment on coal impacting Brunei.

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