TORONTO, Nov. 9, 2017 /CNW/ - Unifor is disappointed and concerned by reports surfacing out of Vietnam that a deal has been reached to resurrect the defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership by suspending certain clauses of the deal.
"You can't suspend your way to a progressive trade deal," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi announced today that an agreement in principle had been negotiated ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam this week, including a list of clauses in the deal to be suspended as a way to avoid renegotiating the entire deal.
Dias called for the agreement in principle to be released immediately, including the complete list of suspensions, adding the existing deal is too fundamentally flawed to be reformed by simply deciding not to implement parts of it.
"The TPP would hurt working people and their communities, raise drug prices, threaten supply management and put our cultural industries at risk. So much would need to be suspended that you might as well scrap the entire deal and start over," Dias said.
In a submission to the federal government last week, Unifor called on the federal government to abandon continued efforts to revive the TPP after the U.S. withdrawal earlier this year. The original TPP required U.S. participation, but the remaining 11 countries in the deal have been looking for ways to continue without the United States.
Dias said Canada got a raw deal from the TPP from the start, with former prime minister Stephen Harper pulling Canada into the TPP talks near their completion, forcing Canada to make concessions just to get a seat at the table. A secret deal between the U.S. and Japan would see a rapid five-year phase out of Canadian auto tariffs, along with other changes to the rules of auto trade, that threatens to accelerate the virtual one-way flow of trade in cars and parts to Canada from Japan.
"Canada says it is pursuing a progressive trade agenda that puts the needs of workers and their communities first. This is a worthy goal, but the TPP is not a progressive deal, and cannot be made into one simply by suspending this clause or that," Dias said.
For more detail go to unifor.org/peoplestrade.
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: Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at [email protected] or (cell) 647-385-4054.