B.C. business likes Pacific trade deal

B.C. farm, forest products face tariffs in Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand

Jobs

B.C.’s Asia trade will benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the world’s largest free trade agreement, reached Monday after all-night discussions with 11 Pacific Rim countries, according to business and provincial government officials.

Jobs Minister Shirley Bond cautioned that legal work and ratification by the 12 countries involved still remains to be done, but the TPP removes barriers for B.C. producers of seafood, minerals, forest and farm products in countries such as Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“Generally speaking, any time British Columbia can compete on a fair and level playing field, we’re going to do well,” said Bond, citing trade growth in cherries, blueberries and wood products.

Much of B.C.’s progress in lumber exports has been in China, which is not part of the TPP talks. B.C. averages $4.8 billion annually in forest products to TPP countries and 1.5 billion worth of pulp and paper, despite duties up to five per cent in Australia and New Zealand, up to 10 per cent in Japan and up to 40 per cent in Malaysia.

The B.C. Chamber of Commerce says fish and seafood are currently subject to 15 per cent duty in Japan and Malaysia, up to 34 per cent in Vietnam and up to five per cent in New Zealand. Beef, fresh and frozen vegetables, fresh cherries and fresh and frozen blueberries also face tariffs in Asian countries.

The tentative deal has emerged as a major issue in the federal election campaign. Prime Minister Stephen Harper outlined a $4 billion “income guarantee program” for Canada’s protected dairy and egg producers, to compensate farmers for lost income due to new foreign imports for 10 years after the TPP takes effect.

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair blasted the agreement as a “sellout” of Canadian auto workers and farmers that will also see drug prices rise in Canada. Mulcair said his party would not be bound by the agreement if it forms the new government on Oct. 19.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said his party is pro-free trade, but will study the agreement and “take the responsible time to do what’s right for Canada.”

 

Just Posted

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

A proactive approach to the housing crisis

City staff are recommending Penticton help prepare affordable housing proposals

Summerland’s Justin Kripps completes first double-medal weekend of career

High-powered Canadian bobsledders celebrate four-man silver at World Cup in Igls

Frank Venables Theatre recipient of Canada Cultural Spaces Grant

The Franks Venables Theatre in Oliver has some new gear, thanks to… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

B.C. concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

EDITORIAL: Putting #MeToo to work in your workplace

Workers from top to bottom need to stand together against the bully of sexual harassment

Most Read