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Understanding global pork markets amidst NAFTA worries

Understanding global pork markets amidst NAFTA worries

Trade relationships in Europe and Asia will help ensure producers are profitable

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

Despite having access to other global markets, losing access to Canada’s largest trading partner would have a significant impact on the Canadian pork industry.

With uncertainty looming around North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) discussions, trade relationships with Asian and European countries will help the industry, according to Mark Ferguson, manager of industry and policy analysis with the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board.

But a world without NAFTA would be challenging for Canada’s pork industry.

The United States imported CAD$1.4 billion worth of Canadian pork products in 2016, according to Canada Pork International. Mexico imported over CAD$195 million worth of Canadian pork products.

And preferred access to the American market is almost irreplaceable, Ferguson said.

“The U.S. is our most important trading partner on many commodities,” he told today. “I don’t think any market can really replace the United States, especially in terms of proximity. There’s lots of pork that goes into the U.S. from Canada and vice-versa. We don’t want to see any changes with our trade relationship with the U.S.”

But Canada’s involvement in other trade agreements will help ensure the country’s pork producers have access to other markets.

“CETA (Canadian-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement) and CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) are a couple of trade agreements that the Canadian government has been successful in negotiating,” Ferguson said.

“As an industry, it’s a positive note that we have some different markets that we can export pork to in the coming years. (These countries) have relatively low tariffs and should be relatively easy to get into for Canadian exporters.”

Under CETA, Canada will export about 80,000 tonnes of pork to the European Union, according to Global Affairs Canada.

And Canada’s involvement in CPTPP will help the pork industry generate $8.7 billion in gross output value to the industry. It will also help employ about 37,000 Canadians according to the Canadian Pork Council.

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