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EU Pork Subsidies Erode Canada's Competitive Advantage

by 5m Editor
10 February 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1443. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Manitoba Pork Council


Farm-Scape is sponsored by
Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1443

The President of Maple Leaf Foods International says Canada needs to focus more attention at the WTO on European Union export subsidies and on Canada's lack of access to markets in the EU.

Last month the European Commission re-introduced export subsidy payments for pork to markets outside the European Community.

The subsidies, of 25 euros per hundred kilos for bellies and 40 euros for half carcasses and cuts from those carcasses, will be in effect until the end of April.

Ted Bilyea says the program puts Canada at a distinct disadvantage.

"This is a significant trade distorting mechanism. It operates in the form of cross subsidization, so you can effectively use it to subsidize one market to the benefit of another and you can subsidize one set of cuts for the benefit of another.

If you can get a better return on one cut, then you don't need as big a return on another cut to break even and thereby it acts as a subsidy for the whole animal.

In fact, we have a more significant problem with the EU in that the EU itself is the largest pork market in the world and we effectively are unable to access that market.

Secondly, through its domestic support system which is very high, it has created a surplus of pork and then it resorts to measures like direct subsidies and a number of other measures to export those surpluses which it has created in the first place".

Bilyea says Canada needs to put a higher priority on agrifood in general and, given that the meat complex is the single largest driver of our export performance, we need to recognize its benefits.

He says the EU is a very large market that's currently very inaccessible to Canada's meat industry.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor