Trump's no-TPP stance a boon for B.C. labour activists
U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has promised to withdraw from the trade deal on his first day in office
Labour activists in B.C. are happy U.S. President-elect Donald Trump is saying goodbye to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Trump has promised to extract the United States from the trade deal on his very first day in office.
The trade agreement involves 12 countries around the Pacific Rim and has been negotiated for over seven years. A finalized proposal was signed earlier this year, but the agreement has not yet been ratified.
Trade deals have been used to drive down wages and benefits and that's been bad.- Irene Lanzinger, B.C. Federation of Labour
If the U.S. withdraws from the TPP Trump has promised, experts say the deal will likely fall apart.
The trade agreement had already met with criticism from labour activists in nearly all of the member countries.
Irene Lanzinger, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, said the deal would have had a negative effect on B.C.
"The TPP allowed all kinds of things that would hurt workers in B.C.," she said. "It allowed corporations to bring in their own workers from other countries with no requirement that companies look for Canadian workers first."
Even though the deal had a labour chapter, Lanzinger said it was not good enough.
"Those labour provisions are so weak. There were no guarantees of basic workers' rights. There's no guarantees of salaries," she said.
Lanzinger said trade deals have historically been a tough sell for the labour movement.
"There has to be labour standards that require certain wages, certain benefits, permanency of jobs, some ability to hire locally and give jobs to people within particular countries. Trade deals have been used to drive down wages and benefits and that's been bad."
An economic blow
Not everyone is celebrating the end of TPP.
Dan Baxter, the policy director for the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, said the loss of the deal is an economic blow for the province.
"TPP is a world class comprehensive trade agreement. It carries great benefit for agriculture, forestry products and industrial goods," he said.
B.C. has a diversified trade portfolio with 50 per cent of exports going to the U.S. and a quarter heading to Asia, Baxter said.
The deal would have created billions of dollars of economic activity, he added.
Nevertheless, he said he has some hope a redesigned deal can go ahead with the remaining partners.
"We can still go ahead and have this economic benefit happen. There's still a lot of benefit to do that," he said.
With files from The Early Edition
To listen to the segment, click on the link labelled What does the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership mean for B.C.?