An upcoming joint study conducted by the Canadian and Japanese governments on the future of their economic relations is being applauded by the Canadian Pork industry. The study will serve to better inform and guide Canadian representatives as they pursue a free-trade agreement with Japan.

"Pork exports from Canada to Japan have been a major success story and have been steadily increasing each year," Jurgen Preugschas , Canadian Pork Council's Chair said in a news release. "The government will have our full support to seek more liberalized bilateral trade and investment between the two countries."

Edouard Asnong , president of Canada Pork International, stressed the importance of expanding the market for Canadian pork to Japan.

"Our first office outside of Canada was establishes this year in Tokyo to further strengthen the relationship with our customers and promote the high quality and attributes of Canadian pork," Asnong said.

The Japanese market is valuable for all Canadian pork industry stakeholders with sales of 225,000 tons in 2010 valued at CA$852 million dollars. This represents 20 percent of total Canadian pork exports by volume and 31 percent in value. Any initiative that could enhance Canada's and Japan's relationship and address commercial challenges is welcome by the country’s pork industry.

Pork industry representatives hope this study does not diminish the importance of resuming free trade talks with South Korea. The Canadian pork industry remains concerned that postponing the free-trade agreement (FTA) talks any further would seriously affect the competitiveness of the pork industry.

 The lack of progress on an FTA with Korea is having a noticeable effect on our current market share since all of our key competitors have previously reached or have negotiated FTAs with Korea. It is fair to assume that Canada's current pork trade with Korea would completely disappear.

The pork industry worries that if Canada lags behind the U.S. and the EU in the implementation of the tariff reduction schedules, the negative impact on Canadian pork exports will carry throughout the tariff reduction period. Failure to reach an FTA with Korea will cause substantial prejudice to the Canadian pork industry and Canada will become a second class exporter for the next decade due to this tariff gap.

Source: Canadian Pork Council