The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is pleased that Canada has signed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and urges the federal government to ratify the treaty as soon as possible.
The Minister of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland, officially signed the trade deal at a ceremony today in New Zealand. However the TPP must still be put to a vote in Parliament before Canada officially ratifies the12-country agreement.
The TPP would greatly benefit the Canadian forest products industry by eliminating prohibitive tariffs, as well as providing clear provisions to help settle disputes and avoid unfair blocking of imports because of concerns about insects or other contaminants. For example, forest products from Canada now face up to a 31% tariff in Vietnam, 40% in Malaysia, 20% in Brunei and 10% in Japan.
"We recognize that Parliament needs to weigh in on this important agreement," says the acting President of the FPAC, Paul Lansbergen. "However we are urging the government to take this step as soon as possible and ask all political parties to support the TPP."
Forest companies from Canada now export about $33 billion in products each year to more than 180 countries around the world. Forest products are Canada's number one export to Asia. Canada's forest products industry follow world-leading environmental practices and can leverage its environmental reputation in the international marketplace.
"We feel the TPP will further increase access to key global markets," says Lansbergen. "Fostering exports will create more year-round middle class jobs in forest communities' right across Canada and help the forest sector reach its ambitious goals under Vision2020."
Under Vision2020, the forest industry has pledged to generate an additional $20 billion in economic activity from new products and markets, to create 60,000 jobs and to further improve its environmental credentials by an additional 35% by the end of the decade.
FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $58-billion-a-year
forest products industry represents 2% of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.