Trade mission Jeremy Harrison returns from trade mission to Japan and South Korea

After a recent trade mission to Japan and South Korea, trade minister Jeremy Harrison seems optimistic agri-food sales will be able to expand in the two countries.

The trade mission was led by federal trade minister James Carr, and primarily focused on increasing agriculture product sales after China has pulled away from purchasing Canadian canola.

Harrison said the government’s objective was to create a good trading relationship with those countries.

“We think we have the best product and best commodity in the world as far as our canola seed and oil,” Harrison said. “We would be very encouraging of more to be sold.”

Harrison said the trading climate in Japan and South Korea has greatly improved with free trade deals that were recently signed.

“What those agreements call for are significant reductions in terms of tariffs on agriculture commodities, and declining over the course of the next decade,” Harrison said. “We think that we have huge opportunity in these markets because of the free trade agreements that are in place.”

Harrison said the gap left by China can’t be filled by Japan alone despite being the third largest importer of Canadian canola.

“It’s not a one or two market answer on this, the Chinese exports are not going to be filled by just Japan or South Korea, we’re going to be needing to be in markets like Indonesia, like Vietnam, because the volumes were so significant,” Harrison said. “We are going to have to expand into new markets and develop new markets.”

Harrison also said while companies are able to make deals with countries for product sales, it is not the government’s place to get involved in those dealings.

More from 620 CKRM