Canadian pig farmers address US restriction imbalance

Canada wants a smooth flow of pork entering the US - it's largest export market

Pig farmers from Canada have spoken to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade on the export challenges facing the sector.

Representatives from the Canadian Pork Council (CPC), including Hans Kristensen, a New Brunswick hog producer and the Maritime representative of the CPC’s board of directors, outlined the importance of trade in North America.

Although he praised the success of the relationship between the US and Canada, he claimed differing import laws favoured the US, causing an imbalance.

In the roughly 25 years since implementation of the Canada-United States Trade Agreement, followed by NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], completion of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations and the ratification of several bilateral and regional trade agreements, our industry’s exports have grown from just over CA$700 million to CA$4 billion.

In 2016, we broke previous records in both volume and value when we exported 1.246 million tonnes of fresh and frozen pork valued at CA$3.8bn.

A trade interrupted

However, he called for government to help “smooth the flow of pork” between Canada and the US. Currently, Canada exports 408,000 tonnes of pork to the US worth $1.4bn. Over 70% of Canada’s pork output is exported to 100 countries.

Although we speak frequently of an integrated North American market, the unfortunate reality is that Canadian meat entering the US is subject to substantially greater bureaucratic requirements and costs than is US meat coming into Canada,” he added.

Under the current system, Canadian meat entering the US needs to go to privately owned inspection houses, while US meat entering Canada goes to a federally registered establishment. “This US requirement continues to interrupt trade without adding to food safety.

There is an opportunity to smooth the flow of pork between Canada and the US by reducing regulatory barriers and we support the work of the Canadian government in its work towards this end.

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