Auto Mayors say TPP must keep CANADA-U.S. auto trade rules harmonized

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Auto Mayors say TPP must keep CANADA-U.S. auto trade rules harmonized
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In a letter to the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, the Ontario Auto Mayors have urged the federal government to keep the automotive trade rules harmonized between Canada and the U.S. in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

“This trade agreement will have profound implications for the Ontario auto sector and by extension the Canadian economy,” Oakville’s Mayor Rob Burton, Chair of the Ontario Auto Mayors said. “A successful TPP outcome would secure the same automotive terms as the United States.”

In 1965, the Canada-US Auto Automotive Products Agreement uniquely integrated the nature of the Canada/US automotive production and supply chain. The pact was reinforced in the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and should be maintained in any future negotiations to protect the Canadian auto sector.

TPP negotiations are vital for the ongoing health of Canada’s automotive industry. Today, a successful TPP agreement for the automotive sector would protect past provisions and include aligned tariff reduction periods, appropriate rules of origin for parts and assembled vehicles and the inclusion of currency disciplines. All of which would be in equal parity with the United States, Canada’s major trading partner.

The Ontario Auto Mayors leads a coalition of OEMs, industry stakeholders, government, unions and academics to develop and implement strategies to enhance automotive investment in Canada. They continue to emphasize the need for a multi-level coordinated governmental approach to the development of a national manufacturing auto policy to protect and grow this sector.

Here is the letter from OAM’s:

Dear Minister Fast:

Given the vital role that Canada’s auto sector plays within our respective communities, we keenly hope that you know how vital it is to the ongoing health of Canada’s auto sector that Canada achieves the same terms as its US partner with respect to the automotive industry in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.

We hope that Canada’s goal is to uphold the competitiveness of Canada’s auto sector by securing the same automotive terms as the US has already secured for its auto sector. This alignment must first and most importantly result in Canada achieving the same long tariff transition periods for Canada’s auto sector as the US, and secondly result in alignment of content requirements.

Minister, we believe that the future of the auto industry in Canada requires this level of parity with the United States, Canada’s major trading partner, especially with respect to the timing of reductions in automotive tariffs and content rules.

We agree with the auto sector’s view that the uniquely integrated nature of the Canada/US automotive production and supply chain, created in the 1965 Canada-US Auto pact and reenforced in the NAFTA agreement of 1993, must be maintained. Therefore, we support the long stated position of Canada’s auto sector that a successful TPP outcome includes aligned tariff reduction periods, appropriate rules of origin for parts and assembled vehicles, and the inclusion of currency disciplines.

This trade agreement will have profound implications for the Ontario auto sector and by extension on the Canadian economy for years to come if it fails to properly maintain this uniquely integrated nature of the auto industry in North America.

Ontario’s auto sector has thrived thanks to our skilled workforce, advanced infrastructure and co-operation between provincial and federal governments. In a highly competitive global economy, all levels of government must continue to fight to ensure the future success of this key sector.

As Auto Mayors,s, we strongly urge the government of Canada to take a fully comprehensive and aggressive negotiating position that recognizes the need to achieve this crucial objective of parity with the United States on automotive issues in the TPP.

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