A forklift manufacturer in Harrow, Ont. is set to expand its business at a new facility and management hopes the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will help their company grow even more.

Sellick Equipment is moving from an 80,000 sq. ft. plant to a 120,00 sq. ft. facility to be built on a nearby 13-acre parcel of land. Construction for the project is expected to start in the spring.

David Sellick, the company's vice president, said he hasn't read through the TPP in detail yet, but he's seen the benefits of free trade deals — like the North American Free Trade Agreement — before.

"If [the TPP] is similar to NAFTA it'll probably be beneficial," he said. "From our NAFTA experience, it's been great for us because the United States is currently 70 per cent of our market. We also export to Chile, which became part of that agreement."

Though Sellick Equipment does not have to pay import taxes when selling to countries without Canadian free trade agreements, Sellick said customers in other countries have to pay import taxes on his products. With free trade, the company should be able to reach more consumers, especially in Australia and New Zealand, he said.

"Assuming Australia and New Zealand are part of the agreement, that should give us a competitive edge in that area," he said. "Those are two major markets right there."  

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland signed the TPP deal Feb. 3, but it still needs to be ratified by Parliament. At the signing ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand Freeland stated the government's position to hold a full parliamentary committee study and full parliamentary debate ahead of ratifying the deal. 

Sellick expansion may mean new hires

"The more efficient we can be, the better we can compete," Sellick explained. "Initially we'll keep the same number of employees and hopefully over the next 5-10 years as we develop more product with the capacity we will be able to increase our employment."

The new plant is expected to open some time in 2017 and Sellick expects the new space to increase both productivity and opportunity to bring in more workers. 

The company's 77 workers make between $20 and $30 per hour.