Prince Rupert business leaders welcome Trans-Pacific Partnership

Many political pundits have already weighed in on how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) signed by the Canadian federal government.

Many political pundits have already weighed in on how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) signed by the Canadian federal government earlier this fall will affect different sectors of the Canadian economy.

The Pacific Rim trade deal between Canada and 11 other countries has different ramifications for farmers, who are being compensated $4.3 billion over 15 years for any lost income, than it does for the raw minerals industry than it does for the auto sector or the lumber industry.

Here in Prince Rupert, the TPP brings exciting prospects to many businesses and residents who call the North Coast home. With tariffs on Canadian exports to Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, coming down in the coming years, as well as decreased tariffs in countries ranging from Chile to Malaysia to Vietnam to Singapore, the Port of Prince Rupert, which already ships and receives millions of tonnes of cargo per year, consisting of agri-food, biofuel, metallurgical coal, wheat, canola, logs, containers and more, may potentially see a drastic rise in traffic volumes as Canadian exporters take advantage of the trade deal.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership enables improved market access for trading between countries. The Port of Prince Rupert is supportive of all efforts that grow Canada’s participation in two-way trade. 3,000 jobs in northern B.C. depend on trade through our gateway – a number that’s doubled in just five years,” said Prince Rupert Port Authority manager of corporate communications Michael Gurney.

“Importantly, the TPP participants are countries within the Asia-Pacific region which are key origins and destinations of Prince Rupert cargo traffic. Growth in the Port of Prince Rupert’s trade volumes — positively affected by the TPP’s effects on market reach and streamlined customs clearance procedures — will increase jobs, business opportunities in northern B.C.’s supply chains, and the tax base for all levels of government.”

The Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce also support the deal.

“[The two Chambers] applaud the Oct. 5 announcement that Canada has successfully concluded negotiations to the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said chamber president Rosa Miller.

“The TPP agreement is good for B.C. and, in turn, good for our community as we continue to move towards becoming a brighter star and a key piece in the provincial and Canadian economy. We agree with [B.C. Chamber president and CEO] Jon Garson, when he says that negotiations are a give-and-take. While Canada had to move on key interests such as managed dairy and poultry products, the net benefit from gaining market access for goods while removing restrictions on services, investments, financial services, etc… is too good to pass up,” Miller continued.

The Government of Canada’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada website cites the TPP deal as the “most comprehensive trade agreement in the world” that “will help deepen Canada’s trade ties in the dynamic and fast-growing Asia-Pacific region while strengthening our existing economic partnerships with our partners in the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and across the Americas”.

The deal has yet to be ratified by the new Liberal Government of Canada, but the party said before the Oct. 19 federal election that it would “hold a full and open public debate” in Parliament about the agreement.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership stands to remove trade barriers, widely expand free trade for Canada, and increase opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it. Liberals will take a responsible approach to thoroughly examining the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” read a statement.