Consulting Canadians on a possible Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement

On September 1, 2018 the Government of Canada published a notice of consultations on a possible Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. The following is the submission sent in by the Canadian Pork Council on behalf of Canadian Pork producers.

The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) and Canada Pork International (CPI) welcome the opportunity to participate in the Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement consultation process. The CPC serves as the national voice for 7,000 hog producers in Canada.  A federation of nine provincial pork industry associations, its purpose is to play a leadership role in achieving and maintaining a dynamic and prosperous Canadian pork sector.

CPI’s membership includes not only the national and provincial associations of hog producers, but also federally registered pork processing establishments and trading companies. CPI’s members represent nearly 99% of the Canadian pork exporting industry.

Canada’s pork sector has been serving international markets for over 25 years and currently reaches consumers in more than 100 countries. Canadian producers are dependant on trade (70% of production is exported) and welcome the Canadian government’s efforts to expand economic ties through a multilateral free-trade agreement with the ASEAN group: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Loa PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The CPC and CPI share the Government of Canada view that Asia-Pacific as “a priority market”. With the quick ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the CPC looks forward to expanding trade with key markets such as Japan, Vietnam and Australia.

A Canada- ASEAN FTA offers the potential to extend these gains to other Asian markets.  Countries in the region are increasing their consumption of pork in response to growing household incomes.   

The ASEAN membership includes two countries which are important emerging markets for Canadian pork and that are currently outside of the CPTPP:  Philippines and Thailand. Economic growth has helped increase the demand for higher value pork products in both these markets. Pork consumption in the Philippines was 18 kg per capita in 2016 and is increasing. Canada exported 43,000 MT of pork and pork products in 2017, up from 30,000 MT in 2016.  The development of further processing capacity in the Philippines will open additional market potential.

Thailand’s pork consumption was 19 kg per capita in 2016 and although there is large domestic production, there is still an opportunity for Canada to penetrate the market with Ractopmine free pork products.

Singapore imported 3,700 MT of Canadian pork in 2017. The Canada-ASEAN FTA would provide further opportunity to develop this market.

In addition to market access, a Canada-ASEAN FTA provides an opportunity to address an important, global, animal health challenge. The spread of foreign animal diseases (e.g. African swine fever) can only be addressed by working together.  The ongoing effort at the World Animal Health Organization is excellent, but can be buttressed by direct government-to-government action.  Among the opportunities to explore in the FTA would be the immediate recognition of each countries animal disease control zones as well as technical exchanges aimed at increasing the awareness of various disease prevention methods by producers in all signatory countries.

The Canadian pork industry believes there is tremendous opportunity to expand pork sales in Asia and will do its part to capitalize on the gains that arise from any new agreement. The evidence is clear from our experience in developing the Japanese market.  Canada is now a preferred supplier of high quality, fresh-chilled pork.  In 2017, Canadian pork exports to Japan were valued at $1.2 billion. 

A multilateral agreement that ensures favorable access conditions would facilitate export growth, contribute to attaining the $75 billion target outlined in the Barton Report and enable Canada to continue to diversify its export markets.

CPC and CPI are very supportive of the Government of Canada’s initiate to explore opportunities in the ASEAN region.


Submitted by:

Canadian Pork Council
October 16, 2018