CCA keeping a close eye on Canada-UK Free Trade Agreement

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is pleased to see the progression on the future of the Canada-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement.

On February 16, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng tabled a number of objectives to accomplish with the agreement.

Currently, Canada and the United Kingdom are operating under an interim agreement, but the CCA is wanting to achieve a long-term agreement that will resolve existing trade limiting factors.

Fawn Jackson, director of policy and international affairs, said that the UK market has a lot of potential.

“It’s a very high-value market for Canadian beef, and for us, that is what we focus on is getting different cuts of beef into different markets, so the whole carcass is able to bring back the most amount of return to Canadian producers. We do see it as a valuable market.”

Exports to the UK stood at $20.2 million in 2019, $17.7 million in 2020, and in 2021, they declined to $7.6 million.

Imports from the UK increased in 2020, going from $15.9 million in 2019 to $31.6 million. However, in 2021, there was a decrease to $16.3 million.

The trade balance for 2021 was -$8.7 million in favour of the UK, something Jackson said they would like to see addressed in a trade agreement.

“We are really focused on rebalancing that trade so that we see trade flowing in both directions,” she said. “We are interested in selling more high-quality beef into their market. What they are selling into the Canadian market actually tends to be low-cost cut, and so we really are a good trading partner in that they can send ground beef into the Canadian market, and we can perhaps sell steaks into their high restaurant market. It can be a prosperous trade agreement for producers in both countries if we get the fundamentals of trade right.”

The CCA is also looking for more progressive trade parameters, such as those in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Jackson explained what else they would see to make the trade agreement beneficial for both parties.

“An example that we would give if we are exporting there we need each individual one of our processors to be certified to sell into that market, and so we would look into attaining a border system-wide approach where we recognize their food safety system, they recognize ours. It can help reduce some of the red tape association with doing trade.”

Jackson added that if the agreement looked more like CETA, they would have to take a closer look at whether they would support the agreement going forward.

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