Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, issued this op-ed on the recent trade mission to Japan and South Korea:
Ontario’s agri-food industry is an incredible sector contributing over $47 billion to Ontario’s GDP and employing one in eight people across the province.
Despite those extraordinary numbers, it has been a tough year in agriculture – especially for some parts of the sector that affected by trade challenges. Beef, pork, soybean and other grain seed farmers and processors have been particularly hard hit by ongoing trade disputes.
In countless meetings with farmers, agribusinesses and agriculture stakeholders, I heard firsthand how these trade disputes were going to have a negative effect on Ontario farmers. As part of my commitment to stand up for Ontario farmers, our government set out to help their agri-businesses find alternative markets in which to sell their products.
Just a couple weeks ago, I led a trade mission to South Korea and Japan with the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli to champion Ontario’s high quality agri-food products and to develop other economic opportunities for Ontario.
It was a busy trip, with stops in Seoul, Osaka and Tokyo. Together, we met with more than 100 businesses to showcase Ontario’s beef, pork, soybean and other agri-food products. I’m confident we have opened new doors for our producers by sending a clear message to our trade partners that Ontario is open for business.
Here are some of the doors we opened:
- In South Korea, our government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Korea Importers Association. This is an important step in developing more trade opportunities for Ontario-produced goods.
- Minister Fedeli announced that Seoul-based DAYLI Partners partnered with Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners to create a first-of-its-kind, US$20-million global healthcare venture fund.
- In Japan, Ontario Corn Fed Beef and Kinsho Stores signed a collaboration agreement that will increase the availability of Ontario beef products in Japanese grocery stores.
- In both nations, the trade mission attracted media interest and interviews for Minister Fedeli and I, helping to increase awareness of Ontario companies, the quality of their products and that the province is truly open for business.
The success of this mission is clear from the agreements we signed and the important
meetings we had while overseas, which I’m certain will translate into even more
investments and opportunities in the future. I want to thank those who joined us on this
trade mission, including 11 delegates from the agri-food sector representing over
49,000 Ontario farmers. Their partnership, hard work and dedication were key to its
success and truly opened doors to grow businesses and create good jobs in the
I look forward to continuing to work with our farmers, agribusinesses and agriculture
stakeholders to ensure the good things grown and made in Ontario are enjoyed by
everyone around the world.Source : Ontario