Farmscape for May 2, 2012
The Chair of Manitoba Pork Council says securing a Canada-European Union bilateral free trade agreement is key to the future sustainability of Manitoba's hog industry.
The federal government is negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement with the European Union described as the most important trade initiative since NAFTA.
Last week representatives of agriculture, business, and manufacturing joined with federal members of parliament at 18 locations across Canada to outline the potential benefits of increased trade with Europe.
Karl Kynoch, the chair of Manitoba Pork Council, says trade is important to Canada and extremely important to Manitoba.
Clip-Karl Kynoch-Manitoba Pork Council:
The challenges to access the EU market have been the tariffs and quotas.
For example, if the EU wants to ship pork into Canada, there's no trade barriers.
There's no tariffs, no quotas on that but, when Canada wants to ship pork into the EU, we're faced with tariffs, tariff rate quotas and import permits and licensing requirements that add a lot to the cost of getting our product in there so the thing that we need, we just need equal access.
What ever the rules are for pork to come to Canada, we need those same rules for pork to be able to go to the EU.
In Canada we export about 50 percent of the product that we produce right around the world and out of Manitoba we rely on it to about the point of 85 percent so anytime that we can get a free trade agreement with other countries such as the European Union it's very important to continuing to have a sustainable industry here in Manitoba.
Lately some of the main products going there have been hams.
Hams are very important for us in Manitoba as Maple Leaf is producing hams here in their ham plant right in Winnipeg so that's a very important export market to us.
Anytime that we can send a pound of pork out of the province it will help eventually return some more value back to the producers.
Kynoch notes with over 500 million people the European Union is a very large and important market.
He says it would take a very small increase in the volume of product going into that market to make a difference to producers at the grassroots.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council