CPC Applauds New Free Trade Deal and Calls for More Similar Agreements

CANADA - The Canadian pork industry is applauding a new free trade agreement between Canada and the European Free Trade Association and encouraging stepped up efforts to reach similar deals on other fronts, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 15 June 2007
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The Canadian Pork Council is congratulating International Trade Minister David Emerson and Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Chuck Strahl, on the completion of free trade negotiations with European Free Trade Association countries, including Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein and on launching negotiations with Peru, Columbia and the Dominican Republic.

CPC president Clare Schlegel stresses the Canadian pork industry has a vital interest in improved export access and not falling behind other countries that are aggressively pursuing regional trade agreements.

Clare Schlegel-Canadian Pork Council

The deal has minimal impact on pork but it does indicate that Canada is aware of the importance of free trade agreements.

It indicates also, for commodities like pork who have very sensitive markets, that they're willing to attempt to negotiate free trade agreements so other countries don't have preferential access over us.

The most recent example of that would be the United States completed a free trade agreement with Korea and Korea is one of our five most important markets.

It's an expanding market, it's a high priced market and the United States then has preferential access to the pork markets in Korea over Canada and over time that would mean that we would lose market share there, the United States would continue to expand.

The second area, and this is beyond free trade agreements, but the whole multilateral trading platform of the Doha round.

It's critical that the Doha round is completed and that it gives pork more access to the Asian markets, to the European markets and reduces the impact of the dumping rules and regulations between Canada and the United States.

Schlegel notes the U.S. is currently negotiating between 10 and 20 free trade agreements while in Canada the number is believed to be less than five.

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