OTTAWA, ON - Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris gave a keynote address on the importance of opening new international markets for agricultural producers this morning at the Wild Oats Grainworld conference in Winnipeg.
"I was pleased to highlight our Government's policies that support our local agricultural producers -particularly how they can leverage the new trade opportunities that will lead to new jobs and economic growth in our region," said Maguire. "Trade has helped drive our economy and it is important we build on the success of the recent South Korean and European Free Trade Agreements."
Canada is one of the greatest trading nations in the world. One in five Canadian jobs is dependent on exports, and trade represents 60% of the Canadian economy. In 2013, Canada was the fifth-largest exporter of agricultural and agri-food products in the world. The agricultural sector employed close to 578,000 people, accounting for close to 3% of Canada's GDP.
Canada will soon be the only major developed country to have preferential access to the world's two largest markets-the European Union and the United States-and their combined 800 million consumers.
The European Union is the world's largest importer of agricultural products, importing more than $138 billion worth of such products in 2013. When The Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement comes into force, almost 94% of EU agricultural tariff lines will be duty-free.
Duty-free access will give Canadian agricultural products, including for a specified amount of Canadian beef, pork and bison, preferential access to the European Union and a competitive advantage over producers from other countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the European Union. It is projected that that due to this agreement, Canadian farmers will move close to $600 million dollars' worth of Canadian beef and $400 million dollars' worth of Canadian pork into this new market.
Maguire concluded, "Our agricultural sector is one of the most dynamic in the world, renowned as a reliable supplier of safe, high-quality products. In many countries, a label that reads 'Made in Canada' immediately indicates that a product is in the premium category and I am pleased we are able to open new markets as Westman's economy is largely fueled by agricultural exports."