The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) announced that an agreement was reached on the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The deal was reached yesterday, January 23. Eleven countries are set to sign as the US withdrew from TPP a year ago. According to the CPMA, the agreement will allow greater access for the fresh produce industry in the Asia-Pacific region.
“CPMA is particularly pleased with the gains made in market access to crucial economies like Japan,” the release says. One Canadian exporter commented that there may be a protocol for exporting cherries to Japan this year, but nothing is official yet. “Right now, Canadian cherries still have no access to Japan. The benefits of this agreement are yet to be seen,” he said. “At the moment, we are paying huge duties for exporting cherries to Vietnam and Malaysia and I don’t think those will be removed with the new agreement being in place. Most likely, the agreement will help other industries, but not so much fresh produce.”
Export duties individually negotiated
For blueberries, export duties into China used to be 42 percent. This was dropped to 35 percent in 2017, but that was negotiated directly with China and is not related to the CPTPP. Each commodity is individually negotiated.
“I don’t know what benefits the agreement will bring to our industry,” says Sav Tsoukalas with Savco Worldwide. “Trade restrictions are still in place,” he added. “If those would be removed, that would greatly benefit Canada, but I don’t think that is part of this agreement. Within the produce industry, we have been working on removing trade barriers long before there were talks of CPTPP.”
“If the agreement means that new Asian markets will open up and duties will be lifted, that would be huge,” says Chris Messent with Consolidated Fruit Packers. The release from CPMA does not go into this.
Click here to read the release from CPMA.