Bilateral Trade Agreements Crucial for Pork Industry

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council says, with the slow progress in multilateral trade talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the establishment of individual bilateral trade agreements is crucial to the success of Canada's pork industry, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 10 December 2009
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With about 70 per cent of its product sold on the export market, the Canadian pork industry is particularly dependent on trade.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada is evaluating interest in initiating negotiations aimed at establishing a bilateral free trade agreement with Ukraine.

Canadian Pork Council foreign trade committee chair Florian Possberg says pork producers in the United States and Canada receive less for their hogs than those in other nations, such as Europe, Japan and China because those markets have trade impediments.

Florian Possberg-Canadian Pork Council

We had high hopes that WTO talks would bring a new level of fairness to the whole area of trade.

That has really been tied up by difficulties with the Americans and the EU coming to agreements on how much they can subsidise.

WTO is really in a backwater, it's just not going anywhere.

We've asked the Canadian government to take a high level of interest in bilateral trade agreements that would give us access to markets and so their responding and Ukraine is one of those countries.

But we've seen success in some of the more minor trading partners like Colombia and Panama and so on but we think it really is the future of how we can get fair value for our hogs.

Mr Possberg observes, while the WTO talks appear stalled, life goes on and Canada needs to find places to trade with.

He notes we've seen progress not only in Ukraine but there's ongoing talks with China and India, which combined, account for about 40 per cent of the world population.

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