Canada’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiation is at risk because it has “declined to seriously engage” in talks about opening up its dairy, poultry and egg industries, according to the U.S. government’s chief agricultural negotiator, the National Post reported (see related report this issue). Ambassador Darci Vetter said the choice on whether to remain part of the talks to conclude the trade agreement with the U.S., Japan and nine other countries is Canada’s.
[Reposted from the Washington Trade Daily | April 6, 2015]
“They have to decide if they are ready to meet the standard of the agreement that was laid out before them when they joined,” she said in an interview. “[But] it is difficult for me to see how we close a market access chapter with Canada that doesn’t include market access.” When asked whether Canada might be booted from the negotiations by the other 11 prospective trade partners, a senior official said it depends on Canada making a substantive offer on supply management. But he warned “the time to make
that choice is running out.”
A spokesman for Canadian Trade Minister, Ed Fast, said Canada remains a committed partner at the negotiating table. “We continue to work with all our TPP partners to conclude an ambitious agreement, while promoting and protecting Canadian interests,” he said. U.S. officials say that Canada has been “avoiding the conversation” when it comes to dealing with its supply managed industries, which inflate the price of dairy, eggs and poultry to Canadian consumers by locking out foreign products with
exorbitant tariffs and limiting the amount farmers can produce.
American officials say Canada has used the TPA issue as a “fig-leaf” to avoid making substantive proposals on how the supply management regime could be liberalized. “I get that supply management is very sensitive. But it’s time to start having that serious conversation about market access to dairy, poultry and eggs. At this point there is no real engagement from Canada,” said Ms. Vetter.