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Manitoba Pork Optimistic over Canada's Participation in TPP

6 August 2015, at 6:00am

CANADA - The chair of Manitoba Pork remains confident Canada will be a full participant in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Representatives of the 12 nations involved in negotiations aimed at securing a Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement, meeting last week in Hawaii, failed to finalise a deal but are expected to meet again, as soon as later this month.

George Matheson, the chair of Manitoba Pork, says the stakes for Manitoba's pork industry are high, and given the progress that was made, he remains confident.

George Matheson-Manitoba Pork:

I think we're still fully optimistic that our trade minister Ed Fast will make sure that we're fully participating members in this deal, just because we know that the Canadian government has worked very hard so far to get us this far, so I don't think they'll be taking the foot off the gas yet.

They'll make sure that they're fully participating and that, when this deal is finished, they will be on the inside.

Of course we'd like to see the discussions completed but, at the same time, we're fully cognisant that it's more important that the negotiations are completed satisfactorily.

In the end, really what we want, at the very least, are the same tariffs on our exports that the US has.

The US is the world's largest pork exporter.

We're number three behind the European Union, so we do not want to be in any way disadvantaged in regards to these other main exporters.

Mr Matheson said Manitoba exported $67,000,000 worth of pork to 7 of the 12 TPP members in 2014, and with Canadian and US pork consumption being static, we are very reliant on exports.

He noted Canada exports close to $1,000,000,000 worth of pork to Japan, and pork is a premium product in Japan selling for twice the price than in Canada, so Japan is a key player in these negotiations.

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