March 8, 2018
TORONTO – Unifor, the largest private sector union in Canada, vows to fight ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
“There is nothing comprehensive or progressive about this agreement, it’s TPP 2.0 with an emphasis on the zero,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The government’s haste to appear as free traders has led to the signing of a regressive agreement that will once again hurt Canadian workers.”
Today in Chile representatives from the 11 pact nations, including Canada’s Minister of International Trade François-Philippe Champagne, signed the agreement despite serious concerns raised by Canada’s auto, forestry and dairy sectors, the inclusion of special investor rights to challenge public policies, and the absence of meaningful rights for workers, among others.
Among the key concerns is that the new TPP rules will act as a disincentive to Japanese and other foreign automakers from investing in Canada. A side letter struck between Canada and Japan ensures that Canadian auto exports are treated no less favorably by Japan than other trading partners, yet Japan is among the most closed markets in the world for automobile imports.
“Japanese auto makers will be celebrating today and they’ll be celebrating well into the future,” said Dias. “It’s astounding that Canada would set a precedent by signing a deal that negatively impacts major sectors, including auto, while simultaneously continuing to negotiate NAFTA.”
In 2017, Canada exported about $42 million in vehicles and parts to Japan, while Japan exported back more than $6 billion.
On labour rights, the new TPP fails to make any meaningful advancement to ensure compliance and enforceability. The Labour Chapter is essentially unchanged from the initial agreement, with its terms derived from the U.S. original negotiating template. These terms have been tested in other global trade treaties and proven ineffective in addressing labour violations.
Unifor vows to fight the ratification of the CPTPP. In the coming weeks the union will mobilize workers across the country to aggressively oppose the agreement and will actively lobby MPs to vote against implementation.
For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).