October 18, 2013

New Canada-Europe trade deal: more market opportunities for farmers

October 18, 2013 – “New markets for our crops are absolutely essential to Canadian farmers so we applaud the federal government on bringing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) to a successful conclusion,” says Stephen Vandervalk, President of the Grain Growers of Canada from his farm in Fort Macleod, Alberta. “Opening a new market of 500 million consumers will mean big gains for farmers and that’s the reason why the Grain Growers has strongly supported CETA from the beginning.”

With Canada’s top five agri-food exports to Europe in 2011 being canola oil, canola, durum wheat, non-durum wheat and soybeans, there is potential for substantial gains now and increasingly so down the road. Canola oil exports to Europe are anticipated to increase to $90 million annually with canola oil being the preferential feedstock for biodiesel production. Europe is the largest buyer of Canadian soybeans with more than a million tonnes sold annually. CETA will reduce wheat tariffs to zero within seven years, which will expand market opportunities for wheat farmers.

Beef exports to the EU have the potential to exceed $600 million and pork gains are also sig-nificant, both of which will be beneficial for Canadian grain farmers as the deal will drive growth in domestic feed grain sales as demand for beef and pork will grow under the new trade deal. “Any gains made by the livestock industry is good for Canadian grain farmers as it will mean more money at the farm gate. CETA will be a big boost for grain farmers and the value added feed industry,” says Michael Delaney, Grain Growers Director for the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Canada exports $40 billion a year in agriculture and food products, Delaney explains, “Trade deals like CETA and the other ongoing trade negotiations highlighted in the Throne Speech the other day are important because Canadian farmers export, sixty five per cent of our malt, about seventy per cent of our wheat and eighty five per cent of our canola production.”

“Increasing market access for farmers is extremely important so we are glad to see CETA include a commitment to improve consultation and cooperation around biotechnology,” says Vandervalk. “We are eager to see this trade deal opening a new dialogue with the EU through an active working group that will focus on biotechnology including low-level presence.”

The Grain Growers of Canada is an umbrella organization with 14 provincial and regional grower groups from across the country involved in the grain, pulse and oilseed sectors. Representing tens of thousands of successful wheat, durum, barley, canola, oat, corn, pea, lentil, rye and triticale farmers, the Grain Growers is well known as the national voice of Canadian grain farmers.

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