B.C. business likes Pacific trade deal

B.C. farm, forest products face tariffs in Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand

Jobs

B.C.’s Asia trade will benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the world’s largest free trade agreement, reached Monday after all-night discussions with 11 Pacific Rim countries, according to business and provincial government officials.

Jobs Minister Shirley Bond cautioned that legal work and ratification by the 12 countries involved still remains to be done, but the TPP removes barriers for B.C. producers of seafood, minerals, forest and farm products in countries such as Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“Generally speaking, any time British Columbia can compete on a fair and level playing field, we’re going to do well,” said Bond, citing trade growth in cherries, blueberries and wood products.

Much of B.C.’s progress in lumber exports has been in China, which is not part of the TPP talks. B.C. averages $4.8 billion annually in forest products to TPP countries and 1.5 billion worth of pulp and paper, despite duties up to five per cent in Australia and New Zealand, up to 10 per cent in Japan and up to 40 per cent in Malaysia.

The B.C. Chamber of Commerce says fish and seafood are currently subject to 15 per cent duty in Japan and Malaysia, up to 34 per cent in Vietnam and up to five per cent in New Zealand. Beef, fresh and frozen vegetables, fresh cherries and fresh and frozen blueberries also face tariffs in Asian countries.

The tentative deal has emerged as a major issue in the federal election campaign. Prime Minister Stephen Harper outlined a $4 billion “income guarantee program” for Canada’s protected dairy and egg producers, to compensate farmers for lost income due to new foreign imports for 10 years after the TPP takes effect.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair blasted the agreement as a “sellout” of Canadian auto workers and farmers that will also see drug prices rise in Canada. Mulcair said his party would not be bound by the agreement if it forms the new government on Oct. 19.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said his party is pro-free trade, but will study the agreement and “take the responsible time to do what’s right for Canada.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Perfect Storm Group pushes for community-owned and operated primary care facility

Seeks proposals for development of feasibility study for ’Oceanside Campus of Healthcare’

RCMP arrest suspect after attempted break-and-enter in Parksville

Resident provides description, cops nab 46-year-old man

Berwick ‘silly walks’ to raise money during virtual walk for Alzheimer’s

Raised over $3,000 for the Oceanside IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s on May 31

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Vancouver Island school principal mourns family killed during US protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

Most Read