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Canada and Indonesia begin trade talks

Canada and Indonesia begin trade talks

Indonesia is a top destination for cereal crops, one industry group said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Canada is engaging in bilateral trade discussions with a country in the Asia-Pacific region.

On Sunday, Trade Minister Mary Ng and Indonesian Trade Minister H.E. Muhammad Lutfi released a joint statement announcing Canada and Indonesia have launched negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the two nations.

This comes after the federal government held consultations with Canadians about the possibility of a trade agreement with Indonesia.

Canadians submitted feedback between Jan. 9 and Feb. 23.

About a third of all responses came from the ag sector and 78 per cent of total responses supported the idea of a trade agreement between Canada and Indonesia.

Sectors within Canada’s ag industry expressed different concerns relating to a potential trade deal.

The dairy sector, for example, supports a trade agreement so long as the federal government upholds its commitment to not provide new market access for supply-managed products.

Bill C-216, which would amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act so the Foreign Affairs Minister cannot make any commitments related to dairy products, poultry or eggs, is in the committee stage.

Indonesia already imports Canadian ag products.

In 2019 Canada exported $893.4 million of agri-food and seafood products to Indonesia.

The top items headed to Indonesia from Canada that year were wheat and meslin, soybeans, frozen crabs, barley seed and skim milk powder.

At least one industry group has expressed its support for the trade agreement and the opportunities it can present to Canadian farmers.

“Indonesia is a major market and source of growth, especially for Canadian wheat exports. Consumers there buy 11% of Canada’s wheat exports to the world, bringing over 600 million dollars in value on average to Canadian farmers and exporters each year,” Dean Dias, CEO of Cereals Canada, said in a statement. ““We expect these negotiations to strengthen the stability of market access over the long-term. For Canadian farmers and exporters, promoting science-based policies that elevates the trade and business environment is a real priority.”

Farms.com has contacted Minister Ng’s office for comment on how agriculture will fit into the trade negotiations with Indonesia


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