Major Agriculture Groups working together to deliver for Canadian farmers
By Mac Ross, Director of Market Access & Trade Policy, Pulse Canada
As attention turns to harvest, Canada’s agriculture value chain associations are at work to diversify market opportunities for Canada’s upcoming crop. Supply chains continue to pose challenges, and the global trading landscape is becoming increasingly protectionist. To combat this trend it is important Canadian farmers have access to new and growing markets, and there is no greater region of potential for Canadian agriculture than the growing Indo- Pacific.
Covering most of Southeast Asia, the Indo-Pacific region includes six of the world’s largest economies and accounts for over four billion people. In 2020, this region imported over $33 billion worth of canola, pulses, and wheat from markets around the world. These reasons are in part why Pulse Canada, along with Cereals Canada and the Canola Council of Canada, have joined together to explore how to strengthen Canada’s agricultural trading ties among Indo-Pacific countries. Pulse Canada’s report, launched in June at growindopacific.ca, clearly defines and articulates the case for closer ties and makes an important recommendation: the establishment of a trade diversification office in the Indo-Pacific.
This new office will:
- Create an in-region centre of excellence that positions Canada as a trusted knowledge partner to key markets in the Indo-Pacific.
- Allow a dedicated and resourced market access team to maintain regular contact with agriculture policymakers and regulators in the Indo-Pacific.
- Provide rapid response and proactive action towards addressing market access barriers.
- Ensure Canada is at the leading edge of emerging trends in the region while facilitating communication with foreign officials.
- Create more frequent interactions with regulators in importing countries to champion science-based approaches.
- Deliver a common, timely voice for Canada and a coordinated response to market access and trade issues.
This work comes at a critical time, as the federal government is currently developing an Indo-Pacific strategy that aims to strengthen Canada’s position in the region. Meanwhile, our main agri-food exporting competitors have already recognized the importance of a deeper presence in the Indo-Pacific when it comes to addressing these restrictive trade barriers, and they are not sitting idly by. The United States (U.S.), European Union (EU), Australia, and other competitors are investing heavily in resources to grow their respective exports in the region.
Pulse Canada staff have been actively meeting with Ministers, Members of Parliament, and senior government officials to make a case for this office, including a stop at the House of Commons Trade Committee in early June. These efforts have made headway, and there is no intention of letting up into the fall.
Rather than sit back, it was essential to put in the work upfront to help design this strategy with Canadian agriculture at the forefront. Pulse Canada will continue to work alongside their partners on pulse growers’ behalf to deliver value back to the farm gate through new and improved market access.