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Release: Business Council welcomes the conclusion of the Trans Pacific Partnership Negotiations
New opportunities for Canada's Gateway to the Asia Pacific
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Vancouver, BC - British Columbia business leaders welcome the successful conclusion of the negotiations to establish the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Canada and 11 other Asia-Pacific nations have been working toward a TPP agreement for more than two years.
“Given British Columbia’s position as the country’s gateway to the Asia-Pacific, we recognize the importance of ensuring that Canada is part of this landmark trade and investment agreement with countries that collectively are home to more than 800 million people and generate $28 trillion in annual economic activity,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of British Columbia. “The Business Council believes the TPP will help the Canadian and the BC economies grow by removing tariffs and other barriers, enabling more of our export industries to build new business, and strengthening the position of Canadian companies in global supply chains encompassing commodities, manufactured goods, and tradable services.”
The TPP signatories in aggregate represent almost 40% of global economic activity, and include a number of countries that are already key Canadian trading partners.
“Japan’s participation in the TPP is particularly important for Canada – and for British Columbia, as we don’t currently have a bilateral free trade agreement with Japan, despite our volume of trade,” noted Jock Finlayson, the Business Council’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer. “Japan is the world’s third largest economy as well as BC’s third biggest export market. Under the TPP, the forest industry and other Canadian resource-based sectors can look forward to improved access to the sizable Japanese market for both primary and value-added products as well as selected tradable services.”
The Business Council recognizes that Canada had to make concessions as part of the TPP talks, notably in the area of agricultural supply management.
“We support the Government of Canada’s decision to modify the rules governing access to domestic agricultural markets as part of the TPP agreement,” said Mr. D’Avignon. “It must be stressed that the handful of agricultural sectors covered by supply management represent less than 1% of Canada’s gross domestic product and a dwindling proportion of all Canadian agricultural production. A large majority of Canadian agricultural producers will benefit from the TPP, including the growing seafood sector, as it enables our producers to expand sales to the growing middle class populations of Asia that want high quality, safe and secure Canadian products.”
A notable feature of the TPP is that it incorporates provisions intended to encourage and establish clearer rules concerning cross-border trade in services.
“Tradable business, financial, scientific and professional services are becoming an increasingly important part of the British Columbia economy and also represent a growing share of overall global commerce,” stated Mr. Finlayson. “BC’s exports of services such as engineering, education, management consulting, finance and environmental expertise have been increasing at a faster pace than our exports of goods for the past two decades. The TPP will reinforce that trend and help to position more BC service industries for greater global success.”
The Business Council of British Columbia, now in its 49th year as the premier business organization in British Columbia, is a non-partisan association made up of 260 leading companies, post-secondary institutions and other organizations representing BC’s diverse economy, which collectively support hundreds of thousands of jobs across the province. The Council provides timely and exceptional public-policy research and advice on issues related to BC’s competitiveness and prosperity.
Cheryl Maitland Muir