TORONTO, Nov. 5, 2015 /CNW/ - With the release of the full text of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal today, Unifor is calling on the federal government to thoroughly consult with Canadians on the agreement's impact on this country and to revise the provisions that will damage key Canadian industries.
"The former Conservative government was is a rush to reach a deal before the national election. We now have a chance to see what concessions they made so that could happen," Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.
"The new government needs to commit to fixing whatever mistakes lurk in the TPP text because the former Conservative government was in such a rush."
Going through the entire document must not be rushed before the federal government decides on whether to support it, Dias said, adding Unifor will also being going through the deal to see what was negotiated. It will take weeks of review of the TPP itself, the numerous technical annexes, and the various bilateral side-deals to identify specific provisions of the deal that were not publicized prior to the election.
"The big question is, what the Conservative give up to reach this deal in a hurry," Dias said.
"Based just on what we know already, there are real concerns with the auto provisions, manufacturing, patent laws as they relate to publishing and prescription drugs, and the impact on dairy farmers and supply management."
Unifor Economist Jim Stanford previously calculated that weakened regional content rules in the TPP will ultimately threaten 20,000 well-paying jobs in Canada's auto sector alone.
The agreement will eliminate Canada's 6.1 percent tariff on vehicle imports from Asia over just five years (much faster than auto tariffs are removed in other TPP countries), and dramatically weakens regional content rules for both autos and parts.
"Under the TPP, vehicles and parts mostly made in China and other non-TPP countries would have free access to North American markets," Stanford said.
The current NAFTA trade deal is superseded by TPP, because it rewrites the rules of trade in North America.
"We're not at all sure the former Conservative government thought that one through," Dias said. "The new government must now take an honest, evidence-based look at the deal, with full input from Canadians, to determine if it helps or hurts our economy."
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, including 40,000 in the auto sector. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.
For further information: please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at [email protected] or (cell) 647-385-4054.