CANADA - Negotiators from across the globe are meeting in Hawaii this week for a 'decisive round' of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.
The meeting of trade ministers is taking place in Maui, Hawaii from July 28-31, and was preceded by a meeting of TPP Chief Negotiators from July 24-27.
The countries negotiating the agreement include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.
The agreement would increase trade between these countries by eliminating tariffs and other trade barriers.
Farming is a key point of disagreement in the negotiations, with supply management of dairy and poultry products in Canada an issue. This system controls the production of such products domestically and limits imports, which is seen as protectionist by some other countries.
A previous press release from the Office of the US Trade Representative said that the ministers had made considerable progress on "closing gaps on remaining issues" since they last met in May.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations have reached a pivotal stage, all countries must take hard decisions, and strong leadership is required now,” said Canadian Meat Council (CMC) President Joe Reda.
“Negotiators are assembling in Maui for what is anticipated to be the most decisive round of the TPP discussions. The choices that are made there will have major current and future consequences for all farmers and processors in Canada’s very export-dependent agriculture and agri-food sector.”
A statement from Chicken Farmers of Canada said: "We understand that the level of pressure from our trading partners is increasing. The level of anxiety among our farmers and industry partners is also intensifying.
"The supply management system was successfully implemented 50 years ago by the Canadian government to ensure a fair, stable and predictable return to farmers directly from the marketplace instead of receiving government subsidies.
"The claim by some countries that supply managed commodities are protectionist is unfounded. In fact, we currently provide more access to our markets than many other countries, including the United States.
"For instance, Canada imports more chicken than 6 of the other TPP countries combined, including the USA."
Chicken Farmers of Canada added that it is committed to working with the government to achieve the best results for Canadians, whilst supporting the dairy and poultry industries.
The Canadian Meat Council emphasised the positive impacts that the TTP could have on the country's red meat industries.
Matt Gibney, Chair of the CMC Beef, Veal, and Lamb Committee, said: “Competitive access to export markets is crucial for a critical 50 per cent of the beef and veal that is produced from Canada’s 68,500 beef farms and feedlots as well as for the substantive volumes of beef and veal that are produced from the cull cattle and calves from Canada’s 12,000 dairy farms.”
“Similar to the case for beef, the pork sector represents a major market outlet for feed grain farmers across Canada,” said Guy Baudry, Chair of the CMC Pork Committee.
“A level playing field with our competitors in access to export markets is of critical importance. These markets are indispensable for 65 per cent of the pork produced from Canada’s 7,125 farms that raise hogs."
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