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Canada Launches First Indo-Pacific Agri-Food Office

By Jean-Paul McDonald

Canada's agricultural sector has taken a significant step forward with the opening of the Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office (IPAAO) in Manila, Philippines.

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced the launch during his trade mission, marking a pivotal moment for Canada's engagement with the Indo-Pacific markets, including Malaysia and the Philippines.

Minister MacAulay expressed enthusiasm about the office's potential, stating, "I'm so pleased to be in Manila to open Canada's first-ever Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office.  We export nearly half of what we produce in Canada and the global demand continues to grow. I have no doubt this office will play a central role in growing export markets for our world-class Canadian farmers and increasing collaboration and cooperation in this important region. "

The IPAAO introduces a novel approach to regional collaboration, with a mobile team based in Manila poised to foster strategic partnerships that promise to expand export opportunities for Canadian products.

By combining Canada's renowned expertise in food safety and sustainability with the rich potential of the Indo-Pacific region, the office aims to address common challenges and spur growth in agriculture and agri-food exports.

The IPAAO team is working on the ground, advancing mutual priorities like food security and enhancing technical cooperation, market access, and trade with partners across the region. 

This initiative is not just about expanding markets but also about reinforcing Canada's commitment to its Indo-Pacific partnerships and the broader strategy of economic engagement in the region. 

In 2023, Canada's agriculture and agri-food exports to the Indo-Pacific amounted to $22.8 billion, signifying the region's importance to Canada's economy and the global agricultural landscape. The IPAAO is poised to play a crucial role in furthering these economic ties and ensuring continued growth and collaboration.

Dave Carey, Vice-President of the CCGA highlighted the importance of trade for Canada's canola farmers, with 90% of canola exported. He stated that the new IPAAO demonstrates Canada's commitment to enhancing market access in the Indo-Pacific, crucial for diversifying export markets and building enduring partnerships.

Industry leader Kevin Auch of Pulse Canada stated "The Indo-Pacific provides a unique opportunity for growth and diversification for Canadian pulses. This office demonstrates the Government of Canada's support for our sector proactively breaking down market access barriers and playing a direct role in expanding exports of high-quality, sustainable pulses across the region."

The establishment of the IPAAO is a forward-thinking move that signals Canada's serious commitment to enhancing its agricultural trade dynamics with the Indo-Pacific, promising a future of strong growth, sustainability, and mutual prosperity.

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