Maple Leafs Foods Applauds Efforts to Secure Free Trade with Europe

Farmscape for May 1, 2012   (Episode 4140)

Maple Leafs Foods is applauding the federal government's efforts to secure a bilateral free trade agreement with the European Union.

Last week representatives of agriculture, business, and manufacturing joined federal members of parliament at the Maple Leaf pork plant in Winnipeg to discuss the potential benefits of a Canada-European Union bilateral free trade agreement.

Maple Leaf Foods Vice-President of Government and Industry Relations Rory Mc Alpine told reporters a Canada-EU trade agreement will help level the field for Canada's pork industry.

Clip-Rory Mc Alpine-Maple Leaf Foods:

The European Union is a large and affluent market with a high per capita consumption of pork products and it's also a market that's quite restricted in terms of access because of tariffs and quotas and technical barriers.

Whereas we in Canada have no barriers to the import of European pork products, that's not the case for our shipments there so we'd like an agreement that would end those restrictions and allow us to ship higher value product.

Particularly the European Union is a big market for ham and we would do very well to obtain some portion of that market.

The other element in this is that Europe continues to have the provision to apply export subsidies on it's pork.

That can affect us.

It has affected us significantly in other country markets, in Japan, Asian markets and so on.

So all of these trade distortions that are in place in Europe are a problem for us not just because it may impact our ability to export to Europe but because it affects the competitive conditions we face from European countries in other markets.

Those are the kinds of issues we need to address whether in this bilateral agreement but also hopefully in a future WTO agreement.

Mc Alpine says Maple Leaf is pleased that the government is pushing hard on trade, not just with the European Union but also with Japan, Korea and other markets.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council