Although the North American Free Trade Agreement is all over the news and the somewhat rocky nature of our relationship with our largest trading partner receives much attention, Canada’s relationship with Pacific Rim countries has opened new doors for the Canadian agriculture sector.

Vietnam will, at implementation, drop 31 percent of its tariffs, and a further 67 percent of products will become duty free over the following 15 years. Malaysia will drop 92 percent of its tariffs upon entry into the program, and seven percent will become duty free over 15 years.

To place these changes in context, Malaysia and Vietnam currently place tariffs on Canadian agricultural products of 17 and almost 11 percent, respectively.

Currently, our top trade exports are canola, wheat, pork, soybeans, malt, durum, beef, canola oil, lentils and oddly enough, frozen french fries. The new agreement will not only open new markets for our agricultural products, but the food processing and beverage industries are also expected to make gains.

Supply managed dairy, poultry and egg sectors, which represent a huge hurdle in NAFTA talks, will be given new access to CPTPP countries through volume-limited quotas to be phased in over 13 years.

Read the full opinion piece here