Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

An agreement to benefit multinational corporations

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an expansion of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) that was signed by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore in 2005. Since then, the USA, Australia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Canada, and finally, Japan joined the talks. Canada already has trade deals with the USA and Mexico (NAFTA) as well as bilateral deals with Peru, and Chile. TPP negotiatiors reached a tentative agreement on October 5, 2015 during Canada's federal election campaign. The text of the agreement was made public on November 5, 2015 along with a series of side agreement letters between Canada and individual TPP countries. The deal has not been ratified. In January 2017 the USA formally withdrew from the TPP. Canada has agreed to attend a post-TPP meeting of the remaining countries at a March 2017 meeting hosted by Chile.

Trade deals like TPP are only superficially about trade – they are ultimately designed to limit the authority of national governments over their own economies and to expand the scope and power of multinational corporations. These deals contain ratchet mechanisms, such as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), that make it difficult, if not impossible, for countries to roll back concessions and reclaim democratic control in the future. The Canadian government would abdicate much of its jurisdiction over important areas of public policy and put these powers into corporate hands by signing on to the TPP and other trade deals.

Agriculture is always contentious in these negotiations, as many countries believe it is essential to ensure that their own farmers can produce the food to feed their people. Often food carries important cultural values as well. The NFU is a member of La Via Campesina (LVC), the international organization of small farmers. In the early 1990s, LVC stood opposed to World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations around agriculture, called for the exemption of agriculture and food from talks, and proposed instead its new concept “Food Sovereignty” as the proper guiding principle. Today, Food Sovereignty has been embraced around the world, including by the NFU, and we say trade deals and Food Sovereignty don’t mix.
 
Read the NFU-PEI presentation to the International Trade Committee's hearing on the TPP, September 27, 2016
Read the NFU presentation to the International Trade Committee's hearing on the TPP, April 20, 2016.

Destabilizing Canada's Supply Management system

Supply Management rests on three pillars: production discipline, import controls and cost-of-production pricing. All three are interlocked, so that weakening one pillar weakens the whole system. In the first five years of the TPP agreement, the 11 TPP countries would gain tariff-free access to 3.25 per cent of Canada’s current dairy market, 2.3 per cent for eggs, 2.1 per cent for chicken, two per cent for turkey and 1.5 per cent for broiler hatching eggs. In subsequent years tariff-free access to these markets would increase.

The side letter with Australia says "Canada confirms that Australian dairy products, including those imported under HS Chapter 3504 such as milk protein concentrates, can be utilised in dairy processing in Canada to the fullest extent possible, including in cheesemaking"

The side letter with the United States commits both countries to immediately begin assessing the equivalency of each other's pasteurized fluid milk food safety regulations, with the assessment to be done by the end of 2017.

TPP market concessions add on to those given previously through the WTO, and, if ratified, CETA. Each has chipped away at Canadian farmers’ share of our own domestic market by increasing the amount of tariff-free imports allowed.

TPP members USA, New Zealand and Australia have embraced an export-oriented approach to dairy, resulting in extended losses for farmers because the world price is quickly depressed as a result of over-production. Instead of disciplining their producers to match demand, these countries aim to sell more milk by prying open Canada's market. However this will not solve their problem, because selling more at prices that below the cost of production will simply increase the volume of their losses. Read more in TPP attack on Supply Management: a beggar thy neighbour strategy.

 The TPP and recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone

In the 1990s the National Farmers Union, the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Council of Canadians and numerous other citizens groups, as well as whistle-blower Health Canada scientists and their union, worked hard to keep the genetically engineered cow growth hormone rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone – rBGH, also known as recombinant Bovine Somatotropoin – rBST) from being approved for use in Canada’s dairy herds.

The Senate Agriculture and Forestry Committee held hearings on the issue in 1998; and in 1999, recommended that Canada take a precautionary approach in regulating the drug.

Monsanto unsuccessfully appealed the government’s decision not to approve the drug, which it sells in the USA under the brand name Posilac.

On October 4, 2015 Canadian negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership opened the back door to rBGH by agreeing to allow bulk imports of fluid milk from the USA. At least 3.25% of the Canadian dairy market would be open to TPP countries, with the USA being the only practical source of fluid milk. The TPP agreement would require at least 85% of this imported milk to be processed in Canada. The American regulatory authority allows rBGH to be used in US dairy herds, and it does not require labelling of milk produced with the use of rBHG.  It is highly unlikely processors would segregate imported milk into separate batches and package it with labels that indicate it was from the USA.

The TPP goes against the Canadian people’s clear direction -- several years of concerted effort and Parliamentary debate determined that the Canadian dairy sector and the public did not need or want to have our milk produced with the use of rBGH.

Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)

ISDS mechanisms, such as NAFTA Chapter 11, give foreign investors (but not home-grown businesses) the priviledge of sueing governments for lost future profits through tribunals that are usually set up through the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). These tribunals operate outside of any country's courts, and demonstrate bias towards corporate interests. Tribunals are made up of trade lawyers who benefit from ISDS cases, as they provide an opportunity to collect lucrative fees and a share of the awards when a corporation succeeds in an action against a country.

The documentary, TTIP: MIght is Right, by a Dutch public broadcasting organization, provides valuable information about how ISDS works, and highlights a Canadian case, in which Lone Pine, a natural gas company, sues Canada under NAFTA Chapter 11 for Quebec's decision not to allow the company to frack for gas under the St. Laurence River because of the environmental risk.The documentary tells how ISDS mechanisms create a "regulatory chill" that prevents countries from passing laws and regulations to protect the public for fear of being sued by corporations that might lose future profits as a result of the new rules.

If Canada ratifies TPP (and/or CETA) it will be very difficult to re-build Canada's regulatory infrastructure in the wake of the Harper government's omnibus bills that severely weakened government's ability to protect the public interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AttachmentSize
MAY 6, 1999 - NFU CALLS FOR PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO HEALTH CANADA'S ACTIONS ON GROWTH HORMONE.pdf88.64 KB
OCTOBER 5, 1998 - SENATE HEARINGS COULD LEAD TO CANADIAN BAN ON GROWTH HORMONE.pdf102.7 KB
JUNE 1, 1998 - NFU REQUESTS rBGH REPORT BE MADE PUBLIC AND AUTHORS TESTIFY AT SENATE HEARINGS.pdf105.2 KB
June 5, 1998 - Letter from NFU to Senate Ag Committee.pdf76.97 KB
OCTOBER 21, 1998 - SENATE HEARINGS ON MILK HORMONE RESUME,HEALTH CANADA SCIENCE REVIEWERS TO APPEAR.pdf104.81 KB
JANUARY 15, 1999 - BAN ON BOVINE GROWTH HORMONE A VICTORY FOR CANADIAN COWS, FARMERS, AND CONSUMERS.pdf60.52 KB
NFU Testimony at Senate Ag C'tee Hearing on rBST October 1998.pdf136.5 KB
TPP attack on Supply Management - A beggar thy neighbour strategy.pdf194.96 KB
TPP tips power balance in corporations’ favour.pdf194.34 KB
TPP signed, consultations underway.pdf202.27 KB
Hansard excerpt - April 20, 2016 - Terry Boehm NFU witness on TPP.pdf157.77 KB