By Gary Symons
Federal Cabinet Minister Maxime Bernier says the recently announced trade deal with the European Union will provide huge benefits for Canadian food and beverage producers.
Bernier is the Minister of State for Small Business, Tourism and Agriculture. Whether it’s value added food processors, wineries, or fruit juice producers, Bernier says the agreement is a ‘big win’.
“Workers and families who rely on our country’s largest manufacturing indusgtry stand to greatly benefit from the preferential access this agreement provides to the most lucrative market in the world,” Bernier says.
Canada is a major food processor and exporter, Bernier points out. In 2012 Canadian processed food exports totaled $26.5 billion, but between 2010 and 2012 only $536 million was exported to Europe.
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance agrees the Canadian - EU Trade Agreement will provide a boost for the industry.
“The CETA, when implemented, will be Canada’s most significant free trade deal since the NAFTA,” said Executive Director Kathleen Sullivan. “When completely implemented, we believe it will increase Canadian agriculture and food exports by $1.5 billion.”
Of that total, Sullivan predicts an increase of $300 million in exports of processed fruits and vegetables.
The key reason is the reduction in the EU’s complex system of import tariffs. For example, certain fruit jams face a tariff of at least 24 per cent, and that amount can go much higher depending on the type of jam. Fresh fruits are also impacted, as fruits like cherries face seasonal tariffs of up to 12 per cent.
The EU is the world’s largest importer of agricultural products, with $130 billion of imports annually, and it is a particularly large importer of high-end specialty foods.