Keep Dairy “off the table” in Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Teamsters represent more than 6000 dairy industry workers in Canada and want this industry to be kept off the table in TPP...

LAVAL, QC, May 9, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Teamsters Canada represents dairy industry workers throughout the supply chain. Our Locals in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver represent more than 6000 dairy industry workers. It is on their behalf that we call on the Canadian government negotiators to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to keep dairy "off the table" in the trade talks convening in Lima, Peru, 15-24 May.

Canada joined the TPP talks late last year, during the 15th round of negotiations, sitting with eleven other nations at the table, including a couple countries that want Canada to dismantle our dairy supply management system. New Zealand and the U.S., in particular, have made dairy market access a "sensitive issue" in the TPP talks, one that will be decided at the political level by the chief negotiators or even heads of state, later this year, during the endgame negotiations at the APEC summit in Bali.

We respectfully remind the head of the Canadian delegation, Kirsten Hillman, and Trade Minister Ed Fast that Canada has joined several trade pacts, including the NAFTA, and maintained supply management. Like the dairy farmers and processors with whom we work, Teamsters Canada expects the government will defend the stability of the Canadian dairy industry, which supports over 200,000 good middle class Canadian jobs, in these TPP talks.

In addition, and in solidarity with U.S. Teamsters and civil society "Fair Trade" networks throughout the twelve TPP countries, we further call on the Harper government to make sure the final TPP deal:

  • Protects workers and their right to organize, in a strong Labour Chapter that incorporates core ILO conventions and protects those rights through dispute settlement regimes that are equal or superior to the sanctions that protect commercial rights;
  • Protects the environment by incorporating the obligations of the several multilateral environmental agreements among the parties;
  • Protects food safety and family farms by opposing imports of food products that do not meet our safety standards with respect to pesticides, inspections, packaging and labeling;
  • Allows Parliament and provincial authorities to enact government procurement programs in the public interest; and
  • Denies greater rights to foreign investors than to Canadian firms through investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanisms.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is North America's dairy union and we support trade that is fair. Teamsters Canada urges the negotiators to safeguard the interests of Canadian workers and the values of civil society against the ambitions of multinational corporations and the so-called "free trade" lobby in Ottawa and at the TPP table.

The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

SOURCE: TEAMSTERS CANADA

For further information:

François Laporte, Assistant to the President
Office: 450-682-5521

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TEAMSTERS CANADA

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