Joint Statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the Ministers of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure and Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Today Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, and Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, released the following statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership:
"The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) announced by the federal government promises significant new market opportunities for Ontario firms, including our aerospace, financial services, life sciences and agri-food sectors. Strengthening ties with Japan -- the world's third-largest economy -- together with other Asia-Pacific nations, and expanding market access for our goods and services, are key commitments in the Ontario Budget.
Throughout the negotiations, Ontario called on the federal government to conduct TPP discussions in an open, transparent manner, and advocated strongly to maintain the competitive position of our automotive industry and supply managed agricultural producers. We were disappointed to receive details only today. Ontario requires a more detailed briefing on the agreement to further understand the implications and impacts for Ontario than what has been provided so far.
Some sectors of the auto industry may benefit from the TPP. Toyota and Honda, with headquarters in Japan, are key assemblers in Ontario and critical parts of Ontario's auto sector. We intend to work with them to ensure that they can seize these opportunities and grow their Ontario footprint.
However, Ontario remains concerned about several key concessions regarding the auto sector, in particular, the tariff reduction schedule and the rules of origin for autos and parts announced this morning.
Ontario is concerned that TPP auto concessions will rapidly expose both Ontario's auto assembly and parts producers to much stiffer global competition, especially when compared to the U.S. concessions, potentially placing the jobs and livelihoods of many Ontarians at risk. Ontario calls upon the federal government to enact a robust, large-scale, grant-based transition adjustment program for Ontario's auto sector to ensure that its long-term strength and competitiveness are not weakened by these concessions.
Ontario is home to one of North America's largest automotive industries. It is a key driver of our economic growth, provides well-paying jobs to thousands, and plays an integral role in Canada's overall economic success. Ontario's auto sector contributes more than $16 billion to the provincial economy, supporting over 100,000 auto manufacturing jobs directly and hundreds of thousands of jobs indirectly. New, weaker rules of origin for vehicles and auto parts may negatively affect the industry's ability to attract and retain investments.
Additionally, we remain concerned about the concessions made on supply management, and the potential for them to have a negative impact on the integrity of the supply management system.
There are more than 5,500 supply managed farms in the province, which earn $3.2 billion in revenue. The supply management system works to provide stability to our agricultural producers, while delivering a safe, quality product to households across Ontario and Canada without a cost to taxpayers. Allowing import flows in foreign dairy and poultry products undermines consumers' desire to buy local, jeopardizes Canada's supply management system, and does not provide Canadian producers reciprocal benefits to export.
Moving forward, it is incumbent on the new federal government to engage provinces and industry on what supports are needed to compensate sectors impacted, as well as providing tools to help sectors take advantage of any benefits the TPP may have.
International trade agreements can sharpen Ontario's competitive edge and create jobs by making it easier for businesses to expand into new markets. We remain committed to working with the federal government on solutions that will help more businesses go global, while benefiting our people and our economy as a whole."