Mexico and Canada’s Inclusion in TPP a ‘Positive Opportunity’19 September 2012
US - In response to the US International Trade Commission’s (USITC) request for comments and investigation on negotiating objectives with respect to Mexico’s and Canada’s participation in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the National Chicken Council (NCC) and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) expressed support and offered suggested conditions for the two countries’ inclusion in the trade pact.
“Mexico’s membership is unconditionally supported by our industry and we view its inclusion as an opportunity to demonstrate improved relations by our government agencies and, thusly, both of our industries,” said NCC President Mike Brown and USAPEEC President Jim Sumner in testimony submitted today in conjunction with a USITC public hearing on the investigation on September 12, 2012.
“Canada’s participation in the TPP would also be considered a positive opportunity by our industry, provided that Canada agrees in advance to put its import protection policies on the negotiating table.”
TPP discussions initially began without either Canada or Mexico who are longstanding partners with the United States in the most successful of all U.S. free trade ventures, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
In a request letter to USITC, the US Trade Representative (USTR) stated that Canada and Mexico have joined TPP negotiations and asked the USITC to provide advice concerning the probable economic effect of a U.S. free trade agreement with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
In their testimony, Brown and Sumner stressed that Mexico’s participation in TPP does not offer anything in terms of tariff reductions since the two countries have long eliminated duties on poultry products. What it does offer, they said, “is an opportunity for the two governments to negotiate on the two issues that remain thorns in the side of liberalized trade in poultry: lack of productive movement on sanitary and phytosanitary issues (SPS) and the use of bogus antidumping cases to hinder trade.”
Two negotiating objectives for Mexico’s inclusion in the TPP were also suggested:
- the negotiation of a specific and mutually agreed work-plan and timetable for recognition of END-free areas in Mexico, and for recognition of equivalency of the Mexican poultry inspection systems, with a view toward establishing an acceptable level of two-way trade as soon as possible, consistent with public and animal health protection; and
- the negotiation of a “peace clause” that would prevent either country from bringing antidumping cases, or imposing antidumping duties, on the other’s poultry products.
Regarding Canada’s inclusion, Brown and Sumner noted that the US poultry industry’s experience with Canada in NAFTA has been much less successful, noting the country’s import restrictions have violated NAFTA rules since the agreement’s inception.
“The US poultry industry strongly opposes Canada’s participation in TPP unless Canada expressly commits to removing all border restrictions on poultry imports from the United States, including any restrictions claimed on the basis of supply control,” they said. “Canada is free to maintain its domestic supply control system if it wishes; but it cannot maintain border restrictions on poultry if it wants to participate in a free trade arrangement such as TPP.”