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TPP good for Baffinland Fisheries Coaltion
Trade agreement to open up more markets, says fisheries coalition president

Karen K. Ho
Northern News Services
Monday, October 26, 2015

The Baffin Fisheries Coalition said that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership would be good for its business.

NNSL photo/graphic

The M.V. Inuksuk, one of the Baffin Fisheries Coalition's two trawlers, cuts through the water. President Adamee Itorcheak said the recently-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement would benefit his organization due to greater access to Asian markets. - photo courtesy of Baffin Fisheries Coalition

"A big chunk of our markets is the Asian markets, so we're a benefactor," President Adamee Itorcheak told Nunavut News/North. "Their fish markets are huge. Mega, mega."

The trade agreement was recently signed between 12 Pacific Rim countries, including Canada, on Oct. 5.

The Government of Canada describes the TPP the "most comprehensive trade agreement" in the world.

According to the website page on the agreement published by the federal department of foreign affairs, trade and development, the three main benefits of the agreement for the territory are:

  1. duty-free market access for fish and seafood products, including halibut, frozen Arctic char and shrimp;
  2. improved market access commitments for temporary entry of highly-skilled Canadian business persons; more transparent and predictable access for services suppliers in key sectors, such as professional and environmental services;
  3. predictable, non-discriminatory rules for Canadian investors; and strong provisions on non-tariff measures, backed up by fast and effective dispute settlement provisions.

The federal government has announced the territory stands to benefit through the elimination of taxes on almost all of its key exports and provide access to new opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region.

Itorcheak said the agreement also reduces costs, such as taxes, and enhances opportunities.

"With this agreement, a lot of those (taxes) are out of the way and reasonable now," he said.

The tax amounts for the countries vary, but before the signing of the TPP, taxes from exporting seafood could quickly add up for fishery companies and organizations such as the BFC.

Currently, when it comes to fish and seafood products, Japan and Malaysia have taxes up to 15 per cent, Vietnam up to 34 per cent and New Zealand up to five per cent.

With Nunavut's top fish and seafood export, halibut, the TPP will eliminate a tax amount of 3.5 percent in Japan and 18 per cent in Vietnam, according to the fisheries coalition president.

The taxes on shrimp, BFC's other major product, are up to 5.3 per cent in Japan, and up to 30 per cent in Vietnam. These will both be eliminated under the TPP, except for shrimp prepared with rice. The federal government said the tax on this item will be eliminated within 10 years;

Itorcheak said the trade agreement also comes soon after the BFC had to find new markets, after it could no longer export its products to Russia and other Eastern European countries.

He said demand for his company's turbot, a kind of flatfish, and arctic shrimp, is the greatest in Asia.

"When we have a product that practically sells itself due to the quality and quantity that's there," Itorcheak said. "Our products are considered pristine and the second-most oily fish in the world. The Chinese and Asia markets really go after that."

The TPP remains to be ratified by the new Canadian Parliament.

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