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Trans-Pacific Partnership good news for Nunavut's fishing industry

Stakeholders in the Nunavut fishing industry say the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a win for the territory, as it will open the industry to more markets.

Stakeholders say partnership will open the industry to more markets

A government of Nunavut fishery boat. A government spokesperson says the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is 'good news' for Nunavut's fishing industry. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

Stakeholders in the Nunavut fishing industry say the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a win for the territory, as it will open the industry to more markets.

"Overall it is good news," says Bill Mackay, the Nunavut government's acting assistant deputy minister of intergovernmental affairs.

The massive trade deal between 11 countries was signed this week, making headlines as a possible threat to Canada's manufacturing and dairy sectors.

In Nunavut, the fishing industry is heralding the agreement as a good news story.

"If those tariffs go down there's potential for increased market access, increased sales, for those countries and exports of fish," says Mackay.   

He says the fishing industry in Nunavut currently exports approximately $1.6 million worth of fish to TPP countries. With the trade agreement in place, he says this market will expand, meaning more money for Nunavut.

More business with Asia

The agreement will also open Nunavut to do more business with Asia.

"It's very positive," says Jerry Ward, the chair of the Nunavut Offshore Allocation Holders Association, which represents Nunavut's offshore fishing industry.

"We sell both shrimp and turbot into Japanese market, so with this agreement it should allow us to sell more product into that market, we hope at better average returns overall."

Ward says sales to Japan are extremely important for Nunavut fisheries.

"The Japanese market for us, can be anywhere from 20 to 25 per cent of our total sales depending on the currency of today, and the market demand of course."

Nunavut Tunngavik Vice-President James Eetoolook says the trade deal will give Nunavut fishers the marketing edge over non-TPP signatory countries, like Russia and China.   

"The minor pitfall is the tariff for Canadian shrimp going into Vietnam will not be immediate, but instead removed for three years," Eetoolook says.

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