Ag minister talks about recent trip to India
By Kate Ayers
Despite the ongoing challenges with the pulse trade, Oneil Carlier, Alberta’s ag minister, recently highlighted the trade opportunities with emerging markets.
Carlier returned from India on Feb. 17 where he presented at The Pulses Conclave in New Delhi. He speech focused on the importance of the pulse crop trade for both Canada and India, according to a Lacombe Online article yesterday.
“It was a great opportunity for me as well, to express to Indians and people from around the world that grow and market pulses, about the importance that pulse trade is with India,” Carlier said at the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ annual general meeting yesterday.
“Alberta grows the most yellow and green peas in the world, and the vast majority of that crop is going to India. So, with these reset tariffs, that’s obviously a concern for Canada and for Alberta, and it was basically a political decision.”
The two main motives behind the 50 per cent increase in import tariff were India’s bumper crop and an upcoming federal election, said Carlier. Indian politicians are trying to support their mainly farmer voter base.
On the trade mission, Minister Carlier advocated on behalf of Alberta’s pulse producers. Specifically, he addressed such trade issues as fumigation of pulses and tariffs on peas, Renato Gandia, press secretary of the minister’s office, said in an email statement to Farms.com today.
Indeed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been in India all week trying to strike a trade deal, according to a CNN article this morning.
“Last year, Alberta farmers planted more than 930,000 hectares (2.3 million acres) of pulses, accounting for about 10 per cent of all crops seeded,” Gandia said. This year, however, some western crop producers will omit pulses from their rotations because of the levies.
Carlier also addressed the ongoing NAFTA discussion at the AGM. He remains optimistic about negotiations, as well as opportunities for developing trading partnerships with other emerging markets.
“You talk about challenges; within those challenges are opportunities as well. Opportunities to expand our markets to Japan with the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and in Europe with CETA (Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement). I think there’s some good opportunities,” Carlier said during the AGM. “Keeping in mind that the United States remains our largest trading partner and always will, but the more we can expand our market is great.”
The 2018 Alberta Beef Industry Conference, held in Red Deer, Alta., kicked off on Wednesday and ends today.