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.”

 

Just Posted

Whonnock man tried but could not save victim of Maple Ridge fire

Michel Lefebvre was among many who attempted to enter the burning building

Maple Ridge musician’s newest album about “unrequitedness”

Rob Taylor released Passionate Crime earlier this year

Three-year-old takes selfless steps to raise funds in honour of his brother

A Maple Ridge family holds strong together as a family unit through a tough year

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Salvation Army will help 500-plus students with school supplies

Ridge Meadows Ministries taking registrations and raising funds

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read