(Feb. 4/18): On Jan. 23, Canada and 10 other countries concluded discussions on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Tokyo, Japan. The basis of the discussions focused on the parameters in the TPP accord agreed to in 2016 that were left in limbo following the United States’ withdrawal.

Each country must now proceed to a legal review, proper translation and make sure it is voted in each parliament or house of congress. Our federal government estimates the process could be completed by the end of March.

Though final text is yet to be published, the 2016 TPP market access package towards supply management items (mainly dairy, cheese, eggs and poultry) is 100 per cent maintained. None of the 23 exceptions in the new CPTPP concern agriculture products linked to supply management.

The agreement will allow more dairy, eggs and poultry to come into the country. On dairy, up to 3.25 per cent of the market could be opened to new phased-in imports. On poultry, it could amount to 2.1% of the domestic market. Figures for cheese are roughly the same as with the CETA free-trade deal that was concluded with Europe (approximately 17,000 tons).

Combining the potential of CPTPP with CETA demonstrates that Canada is moving in the right direction on free-trade. We should be happy that the very tight market for dairy, cheese and poultry is receiving a small opening that could help our members have access to a fast and reliable supply chain that their businesses and customers need.

Restaurants Canada attended numerous conference calls and meetings regarding discussions on NAFTA, CETA and CPTPP. We are happy to report this positive progress and hope our members will soon see the benefits.

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