Canadian meat industries strongly opposed to UK accession to CPTPP

The UK shipped 1,300 tonnes of pork valued at $10 million in 2022 and Canada shipped $0 pork to the UK.

July 17, 2023

2 Min Read
The 7th largest pork producer in the world, Canada's hog sector includes over 8,000 hog farms.

In a joint press release issued over the weekend, the Canadian Meat Council, Canadian Cattle Association and the Canadian Pork Council say they are "deeply disappointed with the agreement announced by the Minister of Trade to grant the United Kingdom accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership."

The CPTPP has, until now, provided a high standard for trade liberalization, but the associations say this agreement with the UK leaves a significant barrier in place. "It does not meet this standard of open trade, and will undermine ambition with future entrants. The beef and pork sectors call on Parliamentarians to reject this ascession when it comes to a vote in Parliament until these barriers are addressed."

"Canada's red meat sector has traditionally been vocal in its support of free trade. Fair and open market access has allowed both the beef and pork industries to thrive, so our opposition is not something we have entered into lightly or without consideration," said Chris White, president and CEO of the Canadian Meat Council

The three associations, representing Canada's red meat sector, plan to oppose the legislation necessary for Canada to approve the UK's membership until their concerns are addressed. Under the current system, they say there is no viable market access for beef and pork, so the sector is calling on the government to ensure the Canadian/United Kingdom bilateral agreement currently being negotiated will guarantee fair access. Failing that, they are asking Parliament to ensure producers and processors for both products are fairly compensated for the damages and losses that will result.

The associations say their main area of concern is "the failure to accept Canada's meat inspection system, widely recognized as one of the finest in the world." The UK does not accept Canada's food safety and animal health systems and measures, and those non-tariff barriers limit access to the UK market. In addition, they say there is a lack of reciprocal tariff measures which, under the interim measure, have allowed British beef and pork full access to the Canadian market without full reciprocity.

Under the Interim Agreement (Canada UK Trade Continuity Agreement) that replicates the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, in the past two years, the UK has exported more than 7,000 tonnes of beef valued at almost C$40 million to Canada. In contrast, Canada exported 657 tonnes of beef valued at C$7.6 million to the UK in 2021 and zero in 2022. The situation for pork is equally poor – the UK shipped 1,300 tonnes of pork valued at $10 million in 2022 and Canada shipped $0 pork to the UK. 

"Today's announcement granting the UK accession to the CPTPP is a disappointing development for the Canadian pork industry," said Stephen Heckbert, executive director of the Canadian Pork Council. "The inclusion of the UK without adequate safeguards and market access provisions for Canadian pork raises concerns about potential imbalances and unfair competition. We strongly urge the government to address these issues promptly and ensure Canadian pork producers are not disadvantaged in this new trade landscape."

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