Although pork producers are still waiting to hear the details of the Canada-EU trade agreement, optimism is running high
It was a long time coming, but the Manitoba Pork Council says the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union will grow new opportunities for the industry.
“We’re really happy that they did finally get an agreement, we’re looking forward now to them getting it ratified and finding out what all the guidelines and rules are going to be to access that market,” said pork council chairman Karl Kynoch.
The agreement in principle, signed earlier this month, will allow about 81,000 tonnes of bone-in pork product to be exported to the European Union tariff free.
“That’s a huge increase to our market,” said Kynoch. “For Manitoba that should mean somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 tonnes for our province alone.”
The new agreement will also aid the pork industry in diversifying its export markets, he added.
“We’re so heavily reliant on exports. Canada exports about 50 per cent of what is produced — Manitoba exports about 85 per cent — so when you’re that reliant on exports and you can get access to that many people, it’s huge,” he said.
The Canadian pork industry has also worked to lessen its reliance on American markets in an effort to diversify, and in recent years, exports to the U.S. have dropped by two-thirds.
Although the deal isn’t likely to result in an expansion of Manitoba’s pork industry, it will generate higher returns for export products, Kynoch predicted.
“Hopefully what it leads to is some higher-value markets, and hopefully a little better return back to the producers,” he said. “Any time we can create a little bit more shortage and demand for the product, hopefully that will return a better dollar back to the producer.”