CANADA - According to research lead by Agri-Food Economic Systems, among those nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Japan stands out as offering the greatest market opportunities for Canada's agri-food sector, writes Bruce Cochrane.
In October an agreement was announced among the 12 countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
Agri-Food Economic Systems has been evaluating the implications of that pending deal.
Dr Al Mussell, the research lead, says for Canada involvement in the TPP was widely seen as a defensive initiative, the fear being that the US might obtain differential access to some of the trading partners so the main objective was for Canada to maintain market access similar that of the US especially in Japan.
Dr Al Mussell-Agri-Food Economic Systems:
Japan measures food security and domestic share of calories.
This is something that is taken very seriously and they've seen that decline over the last number of years.
At the same time consumer trends have been moving toward what we might think of as more of a western diet, so generally less rice and fish and more red meats, grain products, dairy products.
And one of the challenges that they've had to confront is difficulties in agricultural land use, specifically getting that land base fragmented into such small parcels that production becomes inefficient.
On products that require a large land base like grain, wheat, canola and then the associated livestock commodities, beef and pork in particular, those are in demand, Japan has difficulty supplying that for themselves and we're in an excellent position as surplus suppliers to be able to work into that market.
Dr Mussell notes, while New Zeeland, Australia and the US would be viewed primarily as competitors and most of the remaining TPP partners would be viewed as providing limited opportunities, Japan is viewed as a large premium market for agri-food products and a major opportunity for Canada.
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