The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement is currently being negotiated, and Canada’s livestock and meat sector is dependent on a good result, said Canadian Meat Council president Joe Reda, speaking at the industry’s 95th annual conference in Ottawa, who was voted in as the new president during the conference.
"The Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations are at present the most critical initiative in determining the future prospects for international trade and competitiveness, and Canada must be on the podium when the final deal is signed. Anything less than the retention of a level playing field with our TPP competitors would not be an acceptable outcome," said Reda.
"The Canadian Meat Council calls on all political parties in Canada to step up to the plate and acknowledge the pivotal importance for Canada of maintaining competitive access to international markets for Canadian agriculture and agri-food products," he added.
"Maintaining market access parity with TPP competitors will allow the livestock and meat sector to expand production and profitability for Canadian farmers, strengthen exports and international competitiveness for the meat industry, and increase jobs and economic growth for Canadians," said Canadian Meat Council executive director Jim Laws.
"Conversely, the loss of market access parity would immediately place at risk not only more than $1bn of current Canadian meat exports, but also the producer revenues, the many thousands of jobs, and the local economic wealth that they create," added Laws.
The TPP negotiations include 12 countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the USA and Vietnam. At present, Canada has free trade agreements with four TPP countries: Chile, Mexico, Peru and the USA.
Accounting for $24bn in sales, $5.7bn in exports, and 65,000 jobs, the meat industry is the largest segment of the Canadian food processing sector.