CANADA - Canadian participation in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade negotiations is of crucial importance to the future viability of Quebec’s livestock and meat sector.
The Canadian Meat Council said that the meat industry provides a direct market outlet for livestock producers, an indirect market for grain growers, and vital jobs and economic activity for municipalities.
“Competitiveness in international markets is absolutely vital for Quebec meat processors,” said Canadian Meat Council President Joe Reda.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations are at present the most critical initiative in determining the future prospects for international trade. The assurance of equitable access would not be possible in the absence of full participation in the TPP negotiations,” added Mr Reda.
“Maintaining market access parity will allow the livestock and meat sector to expand production, increase profitability for farmers, strengthen meat exports, increase jobs, and foster economic growth,” said Canadian Meat Council Executive Director Jim Laws.
“The loss of market access parity would immediately place at risk more than $1 billion of current meat exports,” added Mr Laws.
The TPP negotiations include 12 countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.
Not only do these nations already account for 40 per cent of world economic output, they account for 77 per cent of Canadian meat exports. At present, Canada has free trade agreements with four TPP countries: Chile, Mexico, Peru and the United States.
However, this is not the case for Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Viet Nam.
Other countries are expected to join the TPP in the future. The terms and conditions of accession will be established by the initial TPP members. It is always preferable to be a founding member of an international trade agreement than to pay for membership at a subsequent date.
The massive Japanese market is the world’s most important importer of pork as well as the third largest importer of beef.
The loss of competitive access to this market would be devastating throughout the country for farmers, meat packers, workers, and rural communities.
Japan is the number one export market for Canadian horsemeat (ahead of France and Switzerland), second most important foreign customer for pork (after only the United States) and the fourth largest international destination for beef (after the United States, Hong Kong and Mexico).
In 2014, Canadian exports of meat products to Japan were valued at C$1.1 billion, of which C$244 million from Quebec.
Moreover, Japan is not the only TPP country of importance to the Canadian livestock and meat sector. Last year, Canadian exports of meat products to Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam totalled C$2.2 million, C$8.5 million, and C$1.7 million, respectively.
As is the case for Japan, it is anticipated that Canadian meat exports to these countries also will grow significantly following the implementation of a Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
In 2014, meat exports to other TPP countries were as follow:
- Australia, C$94 million;
- Chile, C$41 million;
- Mexico, C$340 million;
- New Zealand, C$25 million;
- Peru, C$6 million; and
- United States, C$2.8 billion.
TheMeatSite News Desk