Windsor

Ontario auto mayors call for harmonized auto rules between Canada, U.S. in TPP deal

The mayors of Ontario’s automotive communities are calling on Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau to ensure Canada and the United States play by the same tariff and content rules if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is ratified and comes into effect.

The mayors of Ontario's automotive communities are calling on Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau to ensure Canada and the United States play by the same tariff and content rules if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is ratified and comes into effect.

The group supports the 12-nation Pacific Rim trade deal, but they are worried different timelines for phasing out tariffs and content restrictions could give the United States a competitive advantage over Canada, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said in a phone interview with CBC News.  

"We do compete with jurisdictions in the United States, it's important we don't give them a competitive advantage over us," Dilkens said. "Making sure [tariffs and content restrictions] are harmonized with critical elements is important to us."

New revelations from the still secret trade deal show Canada agreed to phase out its 6.1 per cent tariff on imports of Japanese vehicles over a five-year period, much shorter than the 25 years the U.S was able to negotiate.   

Although the TPP, agreed to in principle on Oct. 5, mandates that tariffs on autos and auto parts be reduced to zero in all 12 member countries, the pace at which the tariffs are removed was negotiated separately.  

While Dilkens acknowledged he's yet to read the deal himself, he said the auto mayors needed to send their message before the agreement was ratified.

"It was important to make sure our voice was out there … to make sure those around the table actually heard from the auto mayors who represent the communities who are so deeply affected by the implementation of the TPP," Dilkens said.  

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