International trade is crucial to Canada's red meat industry since Canada produces much more meat than our 35 million people can consume. Conversely, the world's population is growing from its current 7 billion to an estimated 9 billion people by the year 2050 and require significantly greater access to food imports.
Canadian meat plant processing capacity has expanded greatly and hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in state-of-the-art processing facilities and equipment. Advances in technology allow Canadian meat processors to ship chilled pork to Japan through the Port of Vancouver and still retain adequate shelf life to compete with Japanese pork at retail.
Canada's meat exports have grown significantly in the past 15 years. Exports of beef have risen from 100,000 tonnes in 1990 to almost 322,000 tonnes, valued at $2.2 billion, in 2015. Exports of pork have increased from 200,000 tonnes in 1990 to 1,171,000 tonnes, valued at $3.42 billion, in 2015.
Last year, Canada exported pork and beef to over 125 countries around the world. Increased export sales enhance financial returns for farmers, improve financial margins for processors, increase jobs for workers and enhance economic activity for all Canadians. Similarly, all Canadians suffer the negative consequences of lost or missed opportunities.
Critical to accessing international markets is Canada's ability to ship products to them. A looming strike at the shipping ports in British Columbia in January 2009 placed our industry exports at risk. That prompted us to ask the Canadian Government to include meat in the perishable commodities that should be protected by law should a strike close western Canadian shipping ports.
Canadian meat processors require an ambitious trade deal at the WTO to gain better access to important world markets. We need a significant reduction in import tariffs, the elimination of export subsidies and greatly reduced domestic support that distorts pricing and international markets.
Canadian processed meats face barriers in accessing key markets - and would realize a proportionate benefit through more liberalized trade. A WTO agreement would increase export volumes for pork and beef - from primary commodities through to processed products. Securing an ambitious WTO agreement would help ensure Canada's meat processing sector maintains its world class standing.
Completion of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations was important because the CETA permits access to 500 million consumers in all member states of the 27 country trade block.
Conclusion of the long stalled Canada-South Korea Trade Agreement negotiations and implemetaton in January 2015 was vitally important because Canadians have been progressively disadvantaged in the terms of access to that very significant market as a result of the implementation of the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement that began on March 15, 2012.
On Mar 25, 2012 the Canadian Meat Council issued a press release enthusiastically welcoming the announcement of Canada-Japan Economic Partnership negotiations. The maintenance of competitive access to Japan is vitally important given the sheer volume and value of beef and pork imports by that country.
The Canadian Meat Council issued a press release on October 5, 2015 welcoming the successful completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations. Participation is critical to the maintenance of this country's preferred access to the markets of our NAFTA partners as well as to influencing the terms of the next generation of trade agreements in the rapidly expanding economies of the Pacific region.
The Canadian Meat Council supports strongly the full achievement of the objectives and initiatives identified in the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) and Beyond the Border (BTB) Action Plans. Millions of Canadians and Americans cross the border every year. A consideration that rarely, if indeed ever, enter into their minds is the safety of the food they will consume while in the other country. Even though Canadian and American Food Safety inspectors have analyzed and approved each other's food safety systems and inspected and approved each other's export establishments, meat shipments are still subject to redundant re-inspection when they cross the border. This duplication of inspection impedes the efficient flow of trade, reduces shelf-life and adds unnecessary costs as well as using valuable food safety resources which could be more effectively deployed by monitoring products when they are displayed on a production line than by removing and opening individual packages from the back of a truck. Bilateral work plans are published on the www.actionplan.gc.ca/rcc website.