Government Action Needed to Level the Playing Field for Canadian Pork

CANADA - The Canadian Meat Council says decisive government action is needed to level the playing field for Canada's pork industry, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 17 April 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Last week the Canadian Pork Council, Canada Pork International and the Canadian Meat Council forwarded a letter to key federal ministers outlining challenges facing Canada's pork industry and encouraging action on several fronts.

The concerns are outlined in two reports, the Canadian Pork Value Chain: Strengthening Our Competitiveness and Canadian Pork Industry Issues and Challenges by the George Morris Centre.

Canadian Meat Council executive director Jim Laws says, despite Canada's natural advantages, a combination of factors have hurt the industry's international competitiveness.

James Laws-Canadian Meat Council

Really in Canada we're very fortunate.

We have a lot of arable land, we have a lot of potential feed supply for animals, we have a lot of competitive advantages and we need to take advantage of those but we need to get more competitive.

The world is becoming a very competitive place but there are, in terms of international markets for pork, Canada's been pretty successful overseas and we sell a lot of pork to the United States and we sell a lot to Japan and there's still lots of potential.

I think though that, especially in the last 18 months, because the value of the Canadian dollar compared with the American dollar, the value has changed so dramatically and so quickly that we find the pork sector in Canada is not as competitive as the Americans are right now.

We were kind of taking advantage of a low exchange rate before but now we've really got to catch up.

Laws notes key recommendations include government action to speed up the approval of veterinary drugs, action to reduce food inspection fees to more closely reflect those paid by U.S. processors, the creation of a national health strategy to improve the Canadian industry's ability to protect markets and more aggressive efforts to secure bilateral trade agreements, such as one recently signed between the U.S. and Korea.

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