Not clear how TPP will affect fishery, says FFAW's Keith Sullivan

The president of the fisheries union says without actual detailed information about the TPP agreement, it's hard to tell what the benefits and concerns may be for the fishery.
FFAW president Keith Sullivan says without detailed information it's hard to tell what the concerns and benefits of the TPP agreement will be for the province's fishery. (CBC)

The president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union says it's not yet clear how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal reached this week will affect Newfoundland and Labrador's fishing industry.

On Monday, a 12-nation tariff-cutting trade deal was reached that will see the participating countries enjoy a significant drop in tariffs almost across the board.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says the deal with "without any doubt" in Canada's best interests.

But FFAW president Keith Sullivan said he's still not sure how significantly the agreement will affect fish harvesters in this province.

"At this stage it's really difficult to fully understand what the concerns and benefits might be. This was done with very little consultation with industry and none with the FFAW," Sullivan told CBC Radio's The Broadcast.

"Particularly this deal, on the backdrop with the recent one with Europe where the federal government reneged on an offer of $280-million fisheries fund, we're really concerned about the details and the transparency here."

This was done with very little consultation with industry and none with the FFAW.- Keith Sullivan

According to Sullivan, there are sections of the deal that would directly affect this province's industry, but without up-front information it's hard to tell what those changes mean.

"We see that there's some tariff elimination, particularly some relatively small ones as it pertains to Japan, and certainly others — Vietnam and Malaysia to some degree, but like I said most of the details have yet to be confirmed on this one," he said.

"There are some other places that have changes in the tariffs over time like Vietnam and Malaysia, New Zealand, but to date these are not major destinations for Newfoundland and Labrador seafood."

N.L. competing globally

Meanwhile, Ocean Choice International (OCI) released a statement Monday praising the TPP deal, with president Martin Sullivan stating he was "extremely pleased" with the agreement.

"This agreement with have an extremely positive impact on the seafood industry and will provide Canadian fishing companies a level playing field when it comes to developing Asian-Pacific markets," read a statement.

The statement said the elimination of high tariffs on seafood imports into the growing Asian-Pacific markets will give the province a chance to compete globally in the seafood market.

Canada exports $367-million in sea products to the countries who have signed on to the deal.

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