Bilateral FTAs Key to Expansion of Pork Exports

by 5m Editor
13 April 2012, at 10:22am

CANADA - A member of Canada Pork International's Board of Directors says the establishment of new bilateral free trade agreements will be key to the further expansion of Canadian pork exports, Bruce Cochrane writes.

In 1990 Canada exported 711 million dollars worth of pork but, since the establishment of Canada Pork International in 1991, that figure has increased to 3.2 billion dollars last year.

Arian de Bekker, a member of Canada Pork International's Board of Directors, told those on hand last week for Manitoba Pork Council's 2012 Annual General Meeting, two thirds of the pork exported out of Canada in 1990 went to the US but today Canadian pork is exported to 41 countries.

Arian de Bekker-Canada Pork International

Markets that we're focusing on at this point are, of course South Korea is a very important country, Japan is an enormous market, China, we've got the Mercosur countries, South American countries, there's some really interesting markets out there out as well.

Just to come back to South Korea, South Korea is of extreme importance to the Canadian pork industry.

A problem that we have today is that we don't have access to a free trade agreement.

The free trade agreement has just recently been given for the United States to participate in allows them over a period of five years to get to a zero per cent tariff from what is today a 20 per cent tariff.

What we're going to see, and this has already started so immediately now we are less competitive than our southern friends and we really have to be very very careful about that.

Mr De Bekker says along with the federal government and Canada's Minister of Agriculture, Canada Pork International has been a major contributor to free trade discussions and CPI is anxious to participate in any trade mission that travels abroad to establish further trade alliances.