Ottawa Urged to Make Bilateral and Regional Free Trade Agreements a Priority

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2080. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 8 March 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2080

A coalition of Canadian agricultural commodity groups and companies is encouraging the federal government to put a higher priority on the establishment of bilateral and regional free trade agreements.

A coalition of nine Canadian agricultural commodity groups and export oriented agrifood companies has forwarded a letter to International Trade Minister David Emerson urging him to recognize the importance of free trade agreements.

Canadian Pork Council Executive Director Martin Rice says, although multilateral negotiations through the WTO are important, there is a concern that Canada is not giving sufficient attention to bilateral and regional free trade agreement possibilities.

"We certainly want to see the government follow through on those negotiations that are officially started such as Korea, such as the Central American four, such as the European free trade agreement areas.

Some of these negotiations have been going on for several years and we should get those finished up.

On the other hand we would like to see the government focus on the possibility of free trade agreements with China, Japan, some the Andean countries which the US is just recently announcing deals with, India and Morocco.

Now, some of these markets are of more importance to the pork sector than they are to some of the other commodities and some are obviously, like Morocco, would be of more importance to the pulse and the cereals industry.

We're not suggesting that she shift her resources away from WTO negotiations but we could find ourselves at a disadvantage relative to our major competitors in terms of having inferior access conditions to some of our major pork export markets."

Rice points out we've seen our major competitors, including the United States, Chile, Brazil and even China enter into a number of free trade agreements.

He notes just last week the US announced a deal with Columbia and we're seeing Chile working on deals with Japan and Korea.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

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