July 18, 2023


Canada's cattle, pork industry players upset over admission of UK to CPTPP




The Canadian Meat Council (CMC), Canadian Cattle Association (CCA) and the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) expressed deep disappointment on July 15 after the announcement of the agreement made by Canada's Minister of Trade to grant the United Kingdom accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).


"The CPTPP has, until now, provided a high standard for trade liberalisation, but this agreement with the UK leaves a significant barrier in place," the Canadian Pork Council said in a release. "It does not meet this standard of open trade, and will undermine ambition with future entrants. The beef and pork sectors call on Parliamentarians to reject this ascension when it comes to a vote in Parliament until these barriers are addressed."


Canada's minister of international trade, Mary Ng, issued a press release on July 15, welcoming Britain into the CPTPP club.


"In 2021, Canada was the first member to support the UK's accession to the CPTPP," Ng said in the release. "The UK shares Canada's dedication to open, predictable and inclusive rules-based trade. We look forward to working with the United Kingdom and the other CPTPP members to continue to advance this high-standard agreement for the benefit of all our people and workers."


However, Canada's red meat sector said it will oppose the legislation necessary for Canada to approve the UK's membership until their concerns are addressed. Under the current system, there is no viable market access for beef and pork, so the sector is calling on the government to ensure the Canadian/United Kingdom bilateral agreement currently being negotiated will guarantee fair access.


Failing that, the groups want the Canadian parliament to ensure producers and processors for both products are fairly compensated for the damages and losses that will result.


"The announcement granting the UK accession to the CPTPP is a disappointing development for the Canadian pork industry," said Stephen Heckbert, executive director of the Canadian Pork Council, in a release. "The inclusion of the UK without adequate safeguards and market access provisions for Canadian pork raises concerns about potential imbalances and unfair competition. We strongly urge the government to address these issues promptly and ensure Canadian pork producers are not disadvantaged in this new trade landscape."


The groups pointed out in the release that their main area of concern is the failure to accept Canada's meat inspection system. The UK does not accept Canada's food safety and animal health systems and measures, and those non-tariff barriers limit their access to the UK market. In addition, there is a lack of reciprocal tariff measures which, under the interim measure, have allowed British beef and pork full access to the Canadian market without full reciprocity, the release said.


"Canada's red meat sector has traditionally been vocal in its support of free trade. Fair and open market access has allowed both the beef and pork industries to thrive, so our opposition is not something we have entered into lightly or without consideration," said Chris White, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Meat Council, in a release.


Under the Interim Agreement (Canada UK Trade Continuity Agreement) that replicates the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), in the past two years, the UK has exported more than 7,000 tonnes of beef valued at almost C$40 million (US$30.3 million) to Canada. In contrast, Canada exported 657 tonnes of beef valued at C$7.6 million (US$5.8 million) to the UK in 2021 and zero in 2022. The situation for pork is equally poor – the UK shipped 1,300 tonnes of pork valued at $10 million in 2022 and Canada shipped $0 pork to the UK.


"Canadian beef producers cannot support the accession of the UK into CPTPP until our bilateral trade barriers with the UK are addressed," said Nathan Phinney, president of the Canadian Cattle Association, in a release. "We have a world class food safety system in Canada and deliver a high-quality protein to Canadians and consumers around the world and our industry will not compromise our science-based regulatory approach."

- Pork Business

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