Saskatchewan producers have a lot to gain from the Japanese market, according to Prince Albert's Member of Parliament.
Randy Hoback's comments come following word International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne plans to travel to Chile in early March and sign the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The Minister announced his plans Tuesday, following two days of trade talks in Tokyo.
"This is an agreement our ag producers need very much and it's very important to them," Hoback said.
Once the agreement is implemented, Canadian beef will be imported to Japan at the same preferential tariff as Australian beef. Canada will also be free from the current Japanese 50 per cent safeguard tariff on frozen beef that has been in place since July 2017.
Hoback said the agreement will give Canadian producers a competitive advantage over their southern counterparts, as the United States will not be part of the agreement and will remain at a much higher tariff.
"One thing nice about those markets when you get in there first and develop those relationships, you maintain those relationships because they don't jump around to the cheapest bar. They like to have long term relationships they can go to on a good day and a bad day," Hoback said.
In 2016, Canada was the fourth largest beef supplier to Japan at $115 million, behind Australia ($1.8 billion), United States ($1.6 billion), and New Zealand ($163 million).
Ryder Lee, CEO of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association (SCA), said he has heard a lot of interest in this deal.
"The grand majority of beef producers know we've got more cattle and beef production than Canadians can eat so we depend on exporting. When you can export it to the place that will pay the most, that's all the better," Lee said.
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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