Action Alert: Email your input on TPP before June 30 deadline!
The federal government wants your input on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) by June 30. You can send your message to the TPP consultation email address, and also to the International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Opposition critics Tracey Ramsey (NDP), Hon. Gerry Ritz (Conservative), and Elizabeth May (Green) and David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade.
Please share this call to action with others so they can help protect family farms and farmers’ livelihoods in Canada.
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 reclaim democratic control in the future. If Canada adopts the TPP our overnment will give much of its power to control important areas of public policy to the multinational corporations that benefit from the TPP’s rules.
Agriculture is always controversial in trade negotiations — most countries want to be sure that their own farmers can produce the food needed to feed their populations. 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. Instead, the LVC proposed a new concept “Food Sovereignty” as the proper guiding principle for food and agriculture policy.
Today, Food Sovereignty is being embraced by farmers and consumers around the world because trade deals and Food Sovereignty don’t mix.
TPP would damage our Supply Management system. Supply Managementrests on three pillars: production discipline, import controls and cost-of-production pricing. All three are interlocked, so that weakening one 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. Read more in TPP attack on Supply Management: a beggar thy neighbour strategy.
The TPP would give foreign companies the right to sue our government. Its Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism gives foreign investors the privilege of sueing governments that pass laws or regulations the investor believes will reduce their future profits.Suits are heard by tribunals that 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 by collecting big fees and a share of the huge payments ordered when companies win. See the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) report on TPP’s investor protection and watch the documentary TTIP: MIght is Right which shows how ISDS works to create a “regulatory chill” that prevents countries from passing laws and regulations to protect the public.
The TPP requires member countries to use the UPOV ’91 seed law. The NFU opposed the adoption of UPOV ’91 in Canada through our campaign against Bill C-18 in 2014-15. The law was passed, and now provides vast new powers for seed corporations and turned farmers’ right to save and reuse seed into a privilege that can be taken away by regulation.
The TPP reduces local economic development benefits from government spending. Under the TPP, federal and provincial governments and many of their agencies must let foreign companies compete for local procurement contracts above thresholds that are relatively low, considering the scale of governments’ requirements for goods and services. In general, the TPP prohibits incentives to employ local people or use local suppliers.
Trade agreements have not helped the agriculture sector. Canada has signed numerous trade agreements (such as the FTA, NAFTA, and bilateral agreements with other countries) since 1989. Since then, the number of farmers in Canada has gone down, the average age of farmers has gone up, and farm debt has increased dramatically. The TPP will not help Canada’s farmers, but it will help multinational agribusiness corporations get more and more control over the wealth produced in the food system and the conditions under which we produce and sell our farms’ products.
NFU presentation on TPP to Parliamentary Trade Committee
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – What’s the Big Deal? TPP series of articles.
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