Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

January 28, 2011 10:27 ET

Wheat and Pulse Farmers Win With Launch of Canada-Morocco Free Trade Negotiations

RABAT, MOROCCO--(Marketwire - Jan. 28, 2011) -

Note to editors: A photo is included with this press release on Marketwire's website.

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz joined the Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper and International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan to launch historic free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with the Kingdom of Morocco that will significantly benefit the Canadian agricultural industry.

"Morocco is a critical market for Canadian wheat and pulse farmers," said Minister Ritz. "Enhanced trade will help ensure high quality food products are available all year round for the mutual benefit of farmers and consumers in Canada and Morocco."

At $267 million, agricultural products made up the vast majority of Canadian trade with Morocco in 2009. Beyond Canada's main food exports of wheat (durum) and pulses (mainly lentils and peas), this FTA would also represent potential markets for Canadian dairy genetics and feed for cattle.

Canada and Morocco continue to enjoy a long-standing and constructive relationship. More than 40,000 Moroccan-Canadians make up the largest North African community in Canada. Canada and Morocco share strong cultural bonds as full members of La Francophonie.

Prior to Morocco, Minister Ritz participated in the Global Forum of Agriculture Ministers on Trade and Global Food Security in Germany. As a key panellist, he stressed that free and unfettered trade is the single best way to help address food security and price volatility.

"Canadian farm families produce innovative and high quality food stuffs and this Government is working to make sure they remain successful," said Minister Ritz. "By promoting the quality of their products and a science-based approach to trade, we are making sure that Canadian farmers can continue to deliver food to kitchen tables at home and around the world."

On the margins of the Global Forum, Minister Ritz held bilateral meetings with key trading partners such as Germany, Russia, France and Ukraine. During the meeting with Russian Agriculture Minister Dr. Skrynnik, Minister Ritz announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency would place a permanent veterinarian in Moscow to help mitigate trade disruptions, including those relating to Canada's beef and pork access.

In Brussels, Minister Ritz also met with EU Commissioners and Members of Parliament where he continued to reiterate that Canada is committed to achieving an ambitious outcome in the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiations, and advocated for a science-based approach to trade and a long-term solution to low-level presence of GM (genetically modified) crops, which includes food as well as feed.

Minister Ritz celebrated the new duty-free access of Canadian beef in the EU by featuring Canadian beef at a marketing event where world-class Canadian food products were showcased to international buyers and media.

This agriculture trade mission is part of Minister Ritz's overall strategy to work with industry to strengthen Canada's market share around the world, making sure that Canadian farmers can make their money from the marketplace and continue to drive Canada's economy.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20110128-Agriculture_800_0128.jpg

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