TORONTO, June 14, 2018 /CNW/ - The federal government's decision to table legislation on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a rushed over-reaction to current trade conditions says Unifor.
"The federal government signed the CPTPP in haste, in part to show the Trump administration that Canada has other trading options, but I believe pushing for a quick ratification now will actually weaken our bargaining position in the escalating trade war with the U.S.," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
The government accelerated the tabling of legislation in the House of Commons to ratify the CPTPP, foregoing the standard 21 sitting days after first making the full text available.
The 11-nation trade agreement, signed in March 2018, includes conditions that Canada has firmly opposed in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations, including an expansion of Canada's trade imbalance and the acceleration of foreign auto imports into the Canadian market.
"International trade agreements need to include some measure of consistency with our trading partners," said Dias. "Implementing the CPTPP, in its current form, would reflect an incoherent and disjointed trade policy that will open Canada up to future NAFTA concessions."
Unifor maintains that proceeding with the CPTPP is the wrong move at a time when workers in Canada's core export industries are facing unprecedented economic uncertainty, most notably in the auto, steel, aluminum and forest-products industries. For these industries and associated supply-chains, the North American market is of paramount importance.
"There is still an opportunity to change course or, at the very least, delay implementation until there is clarity in the rules governing trade in North America," Dias said. "The risks and uncertainty that CPTPP rules pose for auto, dairy, culture and other major industries, along with an entrenched investor-state dispute system, far outweigh any stated benefit."
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O'Keefe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).