Aggressive support from farmers and farm organizations helped push legislation formalizing the Canada-Columbia free trade agreement through the Senate, Grain Growers of Canada says in a release.
“Our message of the need for market access has resonated in Ottawa. Our members were represented at committee by real farmers, and we had many meetings to build support for this legislation amongst Liberal and Conservative Members of Parliament,” said Doug Robertson, President of the Grain Growers of Canada.
“I think this shows that farmers do have a voice in Ottawa and can help put in place the tools we need to make our living from the market,” explained Robertson. “It was refreshing to see the two major parties working together to support our producers, unlike the others, who put special interests and ideology ahead of the needs of Canadian farmers.”
Colombia represents the seventh largest export market for Canadian pulses (peas, lentils, beans) and has potential to be a major market for wheat, barley, malt, beef and pork. Currently, Colombia maintains an average of 16.6 per cent tariff on agricultural imports.
“This deal will give our farmers several years of market access advantage over other exporters,” said Robertson. “For once, we will have the U. S. and EU at a substantial trade disadvantage.”
“It’s a good deal for farmers in both countries because we each export different products,” said Robertson. “The simple fact is this deal is good for both countries, and only those ideologically opposed to all free trade would say otherwise.”