Seafood, mining, non-dairy agriculture, forestry and manufacturing industries are set to get a boost as Canada joins 10 other countries to form the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPATPP).

“It’s a sign that Canada does have options,” he said. “We’ll never not depend on the U.S. market, but they depend on us as well.”

Business associations praised the deal as potentially rolling back tariffs between Canada and its Pacific trading partners, while trade experts said it could potentially reduce administrative costs for exporters.

But other industries believe access to economic powerhouse Japan and some of the world’s most promising economies such as Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei and Vietnam would open up new markets for Canadian businesses. Fellow NAFTA member Mexico is also part of the group.

“We can’t afford to be outside of this trading bloc,” said Pierre Gratton, the president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada. “It would put as at a huge disadvantage. Our industry is pretty unequivocally open trade, and open markets.”

Tariffs on exported minerals and metals currently range anywhere from up to 7.99 per cent in Japan, 10 per cent in New Zealand and 50 per cent in Malaysia. Gratton expects those rates could eventually be pared back under TPP.

The TPP could also significantly reduce import tariffs for wood products companies, according to Joel Neuheimer, a vice-president at the Forest Products Association of Canada.

Still, forest products manufacturers remain heavily dependent on the U.S., which buys 70 per cent of its exports. China is the next largest export market for the forestry sector at 14 per cent, while TPP members account for a combined 10 per cent of exports, according to FPAC.

Import tariffs for some wood products in Vietnam currently run as high as 31 per cent, and 27 per cent for paper products; in Malaysia, tariffs on plywood are currently 40 per cent. Neuheimer expects those tariffs to be drastically reduced or outright eliminated under TPP.

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