Canada and 10 other countries, including Japan, have reached a deal on a new Pacific Rim trade accord that does not include the United States.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne announced on Tuesday, will benefit Canada’s agricultural sector, chiefly beef and pork producers, which are being granted market access to the once-sheltered Japanese market – access that rivals in Australia already enjoy.

But Canada’s dairy farmers, the head of the country’s largest private-sector union and a major portion of the Canadian auto industry say the new deal makes major concessions to foreign competitors that will cost jobs in Canada without yielding sufficient reciprocal benefits.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said she is concerned the deal could hurt Ontario’s auto industry. Trade “diversification must not come at the expense of key Ontario sectors, including auto,” Ms. Wynne said. “I have heard the concerns from many in our auto industry over the course of TPP negotiations, and I understand and share any concerns that this agreement could in any way affect the competitiveness of Ontario’s auto sector.”

The Canadian government said it has obtained changes to the original deal that also include:

  • Exemption for Canada’s cultural industries to shelter them from competition;
  • Suspension of some changes to intellectual property rules that would have extended copyright protections and hiked the cost of pharmaceutical drugs;
  • Suspension of provisions that would have allowed foreign investors to sue the Canadian government when an investment contract was breached or when Ottawa revokes authorization to invest;
  • “Fully enforceable” chapters on labour and environment.

John Manley, head of the Business Council of Canada, said the new agreement sends a message that Canada believes in liberalized trade with the fastest-growing region of the world.

Read more in The Globe and Mail article here.

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