The long-awaited announcement was made by Prime Minister Harper coincident with his attendance at the G-20 Leaders` Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.
“Of the 11 other countries that have joined or are prospective members of the TPP negotiations, ten are already destinations for Canadian meat products," said Canadian Meat Council Executive Director James Laws.
"It is vitally important for Canada`s export-dependent livestock and meat sector that this country maintain competitive access to these critical markets.”
During 2011, Canadian pork, beef and horsemeat exports to these countries were as follow: Australia ($99 million); Chile ($9 million); Japan ($976 million); Malaysia ($1 million); Mexico ($210 million); New Zealand ($27 million); Peru ($0.3 million); Singapore ($7 million); United States ($1,956 million); and Vietnam ($7 million).
"In the absence of Canadian membership in these critical negotiations, Canadian meat exports would have become progressively disadvantaged in the dynamic and growing trans-Pacific marketplace.
The ultimate result would have been reduced competitiveness, lower investment and lost jobs in not only all segments of Canada`s highly integrated livestock and meat chain from cow-calf producers to feedlot operators, meat processors, truck and rail transporters and port operators, but also within the many companies that provide inputs to each link of the chain.
It is for these reasons that Canada`s meat processors have been urging the Canadian government to join the ambitious TPP negotiations at the earliest possible opportunity," added Mr Laws.
Canada currently provides tariff-free unlimited access to pork and horsemeat imports from all countries of the world. Beef and veal products are imported duty-free from existing free trade partners the United States, Mexico and Chile.
Beef and veal imports from other countries that exceed a tariff-rate quota of 76,409 tonnes are subject to an import duty of 26.5%.
The Canadian beef industry is prepared to offer open and tariff-free access to the Canadian market in exchange for similar concessions from the other TPP member countries.
The announcement was also welcomed by the Canadian Pork Council.
“The continuous efforts to open new and existing markets by the federal government will increase export opportunities for Canadian pork,” stated CPC’s Chair Jean-Guy Vincent.
“A seat at the TPP negotiation table is an opening for Canada to secure long term market development opportunities, and to enhance its terms of trade with free trade agreement partners, who are, or wish to be TPP participants.
“The Pacific region is comprised of many economically emerging countries that are experiencing significant growth in both per capita incomes and population.
These conditions generally lead to rapid increases in consumption and importation of meat products,” added Mr Vincent.
“Many of Canada fastest growing pork export markets are in this region and pork exports to its top ten Pacific Asian markets, in addition to Japan, have quadrupled over the past ten years to now exceed $600 million on an annual basis."
Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation, also backed the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.
“The American Farm Bureau Federation supports the addition of Canada as a negotiating partner in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. As a major U.S. trading partner, Canada will bolster the reach of the TPP negotiations for US agriculture," he said.
“As the second-largest U.S. agricultural export market, with more than $18 billion in sales in 2011, Canada is crucial to U.S. agriculture.
Both our nations will benefit from Canada being a TPP partner, and through sharing in improved sanitary and phytosanitary standards for agricultural trade and expanded market access with TPP nations.
“It’s important that new entrants to the TPP recognize this is a comprehensive agreement and that individual sectors should not be excluded from the negotiation.
Both Canada and Mexico being invited to join the TPP provides opportunity to strengthen trade relationships, address remaining barriers and improve the competitiveness of the North American market.”
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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