Colombia FTA seen securing crop markets

Prairie grain and pulse crop producers expect to gain from Canada’s signature Nov. 21 on a free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia.

The Canadian Wheat Board is now urging Parliament to ratify the deal and secure Canada’s $100 million wheat market worth of wheat and $23 million of malting barley to Colombia each year. According to Pulse Canada, Colombia and Peru combined are a $70 million market for Canadian pulses.

The South American nation currently maintains an average applied tariff of 16.6 per cent on Canadian agricultural products, the federal government said.

For Canadian pork exports, for example, this FTA will set a 5,000-tonne tariff-rate quota (TRQ), which will then increase annually, while Colombia’s in-quota tariff is eliminated over the first five years of the FTA’s implementation, according to the Canadian Pork Council.

The federal government said Canada will exclude its own over-access tariffs on supply-managed products (eggs, dairy, poultry) from tariff cuts under this deal.

Wheat, barley and lentils are currently among Canada’s main exports to Colombia, along with newsprint (paper) and off-road dump trucks. Colombia’s top exports to Canada include coffee, bananas, coal and fuel.

Tariffs on Canada’s non-agricultural exports to Colombia will be eliminated when the deal is ratified.

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