Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

May 22, 2009 11:41 ET

Canada Promotes Vital Free Trade Agreements With Colombia and Peru

LIMA, PERU--(Marketwire - May 22, 2009) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release is available via Marketwire's website.

Colombia and Peru are vital markets for Canadian livestock, grain, and pulse producers and the Government of Canada is working hard to quickly pass and implement free trade agreements with both countries. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz led a Canadian delegation to Colombia and Peru to advance quick implementation of these important free trade agreements.

Meetings between Canada and Colombia resulted in a clear path that will enable Colombia to fully reopen the Colombian market to Canadian beef and livestock.

"Canada's Conservative Government is working hard to create opportunities for Canadians producers around the world and we are building a strong relationship between Canada and Colombia as we move forward with our free trade agreement," said Minister Ritz. "I am confident that we can meet and exceed Colombia's high quality and safety standards to reopen that market to our beef and livestock this summer.

"This breakthrough agreement gives us a clear direction to once again scientifically prove that Canadian beef and livestock are safe. We continue to deliver the same stringent sanitary and health standards whether we are producing food for Canadian grocery stores or markets around the world."

In addition to the Andean Community's ongoing study of Canadian beef and livestock sanitary and phytosanitary systems, it was agreed that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will provide Colombia with detailed analysis of the two most recent cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, complete a technical questionnaire requested by Colombia, and provide updated information about Canada's livestock and food safety systems and sanitary procedures. Colombia will deliver a final decision within 15 days of receiving the requested information from CFIA. If all requirements are satisfactorily met by Canada, Colombia will fully reopen its market to Canadian beef and livestock.

Successful completion of this process will reopen the first South American market to Canadian beef and livestock since 2003. The Canadian Cattlemen's Association estimates the Colombian market to be worth $6 million for Canadian beef exporters. The Canadian Beef Breeds Council estimates the increased exports of breeding stock and genetics will be worth another $1 million.

"Right now our competitors from places such as the United States and Argentina are negotiating or already have tariff-free access to markets in Colombia and Peru," said Minister Ritz. "Canadian farm families are counting on all parties to pass legislation to implement these vital free trade agreements as quickly as possible. Our Conservative Government is committed to getting these deals in place a quickly as possible."

The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) reports that vital Canadian market share in Colombia and Peru is facing increasing competition from American and Argentine exporters.

- CWB sales of wheat and barley to Colombia and Peru are worth about $230 million.

- Canadian wheat and barley exports to Colombia and Peru face applied tariff that historically average 15 per cent.

- Argentine exporters have tariff-free access to Colombia and Peru and free trade agreements with the U.S. will also give American exporters tariff-free access.

Pulse Canada reports that markets in Colombia and Peru are already worth about $100 million and growing, but Canadian exporters face increasing competition from American exporters.

- Canadian exports of pulse and specialty crops to Colombia are worth $80 million.

- Without a Canada-Colombia free trade agreement, Canadian pulse and specialty crops producers will face a 15 per cent tariff disadvantage.

- Canadian exports of pulse and specialty crops to Peru are worth $19 million.

- Without a Canada-Peru free trade agreement, Canadian producers will face a 25 per cent tariff disadvantage for lentils and peas and a 12 per cent tariff disadvantage for canary seed. Canadian bean producer face a tariff disadvantage of 60 per cent.

In Colombia, Minister Ritz met with Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez, Agriculture Minister Andres Fernandez, and Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Luis Guillermo Plata. In Peru, Minister Ritz met with Minister of Agriculture Carlos Leyton and Minister of Trade and Tourism, Mercedes Araoz.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link:

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Meagan Murdoch
    Press Secretary