January 18, 2018

Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau – Canada must be part of CPTPP

Jeff Nielsen

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

As a trade-dependent industry, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is an exceptional opportunity for Canada’s grain farmers. The CPTPP is a historic opportunity for Canada to be part of a modern, progressive trade agreement that will bring real, positive benefits for Canada’s economy. Given the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a diversified trade agenda has never been more important.

Several of Canada’s trade competitors already have agreements in place with key nations such as Japan and Vietnam, and it is crucial that Canada seize this opportunity to gain competitive access and open up new export opportunities. The tariff reductions that have already been negotiated with TPP nations would significantly expand export prospects for Canadian grain farmers. Markets in the TPP represent significant growth potential with expanding populations and importers that recognize and value our high-quality grain and agri-food products from Canada.

Your Government has challenged Canada’s agri-food sector to meet an ambitious goal to increase agri-food exports to $75 billion in 2025, but we can only do it if Canada is part of this historic agreement. Not only will it help grow the agri-food sector, but being part of the CPTPP will mean economic growth and real benefits for the 2.3 million Canadians employed in agri-food.

It is absolutely essential that Minister Champagne and the negotiating team attend the next round of negotiations in Japan with the mandate to conclude negotiations on the CPTPP. Given the crucial importance of this historic trade agreement to Canadian agriculture and the Canadian economy as a whole, the Government must commit to being a signatory when the negotiations are done.

For Canada to miss out on this trade agreement which, by all accounts, will go ahead with or without us, would be devastating to the middle-class Canadians that work hard every day on farms across the country. The damage of not being in the CPTPP to the sector, the economy, the people it employs and to Canada’s reputation as a reliable trading nation will be difficult to repair.

I trust that you and your government will do what is right and support Canadian farmers and the millions of Canadians whose livelihood depends on a strong, vibrant agri-food sector.

Sincerely,

Jeff Nielsen
President, Grain Growers of Canada

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