Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

February 25, 2010 14:19 ET

Canada Maximizing Global Trade for Canadian Producers

PARIS, FRANCE--(Marketwire - Feb. 25, 2010) - Canadian pork products will be back on Chinese grocery store shelves after Canada secured the first certification agreement to allow pork imports to China, based on significant negotiations recognizing OIE standards. This important development builds on the success of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz's recent mission to China and was announced by Minister Ritz during his agricultural trade mission to the OIE and Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) today in Paris. Canadian producers depend on fair, science-based rules set out by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) so they can compete and succeed globally.

"When our Government works to open and expand markets for Canadian producers around the world we always point to the clear OIE consensus that Canadian pork and beef is safe," said Minister Ritz. "We are pleased to continue our strong and respectful working relationship with China. Access to the Chinese market is excellent news for Canadian pork producers and underlines the importance of recognizing international science-based standards."

In spring of 2009, China banned pork imports from H1N1-affected countries. In December, Prime Minister Harper was successful in getting this ban lifted on his mission to China. Since then, Canada has been working to develop supplementary certification requirements. This successful negotiation will now allow Chinese imports of Canadian pork. China is an important market for Canadian pork valued at $45 million in 2008. Discussions on the Chinese importation of Canadian live swine are continuing and Canada is hopeful for early resolution.

While in Paris this week, Minister Ritz also met with the OIE Director General Bernard Vallat and reaffirmed the Government of Canada's commitment to the OIE by investing an additional $2 million over the next four years.

"Maximizing trade opportunities is a priority of Canada's Economic Action Plan and supporting the vital international work of the OIE is part of our continued efforts to make sure our producers can compete on a level playing field," said Minister Ritz. "This increased investment will support the important role the OIE plays in determining international science-based guidelines that govern the safe movement of animals and animal products. "

A key priority for this investment will be to provide Canadian expertise to support the OIE's Headquarters and regional capacity building activities. The OIE has played a central role in developing international consensus that recognizes Canada's effective measures to deal with BSE, H1N1, and avian influenza.

"The positive impact of animal health policies not only on fair trade but also on poverty reduction and public health is in itself ample justification for financing and maintaining animal health strategies worldwide," Dr Vallat said. "Canada has always been supportive of OIE's actions but I would like to stress my personal thanks to the Government of Canada for confirming it through this additional investment." he added.

Minister Ritz also participated in the OECD Agriculture Ministerial meeting where he raised current global challenges and opportunities to ensure a sustainable future of the food and agriculture system. Minister Ritz underlined the importance of a science-based approach in trade to guarantee the safety of the food and feed systems while keeping international trade flowing.

Minister Ritz's participation at the OECD provided an opportunity for bilateral meetings with international trade counterparts to discuss market access and outstanding trade issues.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Meagan Murdoch
    Press Secretary
    613-773-1059