Bilateral Free Trade Agreements Key to More Exports

CANADA - The executive director of Canada Pork International says in the absence of progress at the World Trade Organization Canada's alternative is to enter bilateral free trade agreements with as many countries as possible, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 14 January 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

With trade talks at the World Trade Organization stalled the focus has shifted to bilateral free trade agreements.

Meeting demands for export markets will be among the topics discussed next week during the 2010 Banff Pork Seminar.

Canada Pork International executive director, Jacques Pomerleau, says that when it comes to free trade agreements, Canada has lagged behind other countries and is playing catch up.

Jacques Pomerleau – Canada Pork International

We still need to finalise the free trade agreement with South Korea, we still have to vote a free trade agreement with Columbia and have it adopted by the House of Commons and also we need to initiate free trade discussions with the European Union.

This is the first time that the European Union has indicated that they are willing to enter into a free trade agreement with a developed country.

This would be critical for us, all three of them, Korea, Columbia or the European Union but a European Union free trade agreement would really provide us with access to a significant market.

What we are finding is that, in spite of the current very high tariffs, European importers are willing to buy Canadian pork right now.

What we are finding out is that there would be a demand for all cuts when at the beginning we thought that it would be only for certain cuts.

Depending on the quota we could get under the free trade agreement I think we would be in a very good position to fulfill it.

The point is how much could we get during those discussions and hopefully as much as possible.

Mr Pomerleau says a free trade agreement with the European Union would provide us access to a significant market where we have been shut out for years.

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