The Scoop: Alternative News & Views

Trans-Pacific Partnership

Darlene Costello

19 September 2016 in Politics

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another terrible Free Trade Agreement and is a bad deal for Canadians. It was poorly negotiated by Harper and Canada came to the table when much of the agreement was already negotiated.

Experts warn Canadians will lose up to 58000 jobs; 20000 in the already diminishing auto industry. Canada now imports $120 billion more than we export. The TPP also lifts restrictions on the number of temporary workers a firm can import under the terms of the deal, without requiring employers to prove there is a need to utilize temporary foreign workers and that there are no Canadian workers available to perform the job.

The TPP will allow more auto imports into Canada, as Canada's existing auto tariff is quickly eliminated in just 5 years, whereas the U.S. will phase-out its vehicle tariffs over 25–30 years. There will be drastic changes to vehicle content requirements and will allow vehicle imports from Japan and elsewhere to embody a majority of non-TPP content from China or other low-wage countries. Thresholds for passenger vehicles will drop from 62.5% under NAFTA to 45% under the TPP. The TPP will encourage the offshore relocation of much of the North American auto supply chain, as the regional parts content rule is cut to 35–45% (depending on the part) from 60%.

The TPP is a corporate rights deal. Only 5 out of 30 chapters deal with trade. We already trade with all these countries and 97% is tariff free. The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) will make it easier for corporations to sue the Canadian government for passing laws that are in the public's interest if it interferes with their ability to make a profit. Canada is the most sued nation under free trade deals. We have already paid out over $200 million in penalties, with $2 billion in damages being sought. This is a way for corporations to bully countries into overturning laws in their favor. A few examples are Ethyl Corporation sued Canada for $350 million over banning MMT, a dangerous fuel additive. The Federal government backed down, overturning the ban. Also U.S. Company Windstream Energy is suing for $475 million after Ontario cancelled a series of offshore wind farms.

The deal will increase the cost of drugs. TPP grants new rights to brand-name drug manufacturers by locking in patent protections beyond the standard 20 year term; which will delay lower cost generic drugs from getting to market. Drug costs already account for the second-largest share of health care spending in Canada. Under the TPP Canadians can expect drug costs to balloon by hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Canadians already pay the second-highest per capita drug costs in the world. The TPP will make it harder for people to afford the drugs they need and for bargaining teams to negotiate benefit plans. It will also pose a barrier to creating a national pharmacare.

It's a bad deal for dairy farmers with expected revenue loss of up to $250 million. Canada doesn’t approve the use of growth hormones in dairy cows but dairy imports may contain the hormone. There should be no double standard and Canadians health should not be jeopardized for corporate profits.

Since the deal is signed and at this point no changes can be made to it please email the Trade committee at ciit-tpp-ptp@parl.gc.ca the Minister of Trade chrystia.freeland@parl.gc.ca and your MP to tell them not to ratify the TPP.