Maxime Bernier, Canadian Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture), outlined the Government of Canada's commitment to supporting and enhancing the competitiveness of Canada's pork sector in international markets at the recent Canada Pork International (CPI) Annual General Meeting.

Bernier discussed how the Canada-EU trade agreement will significantly enhance the pork sector's export opportunities and help ensure long-term prosperity for the workers, businesses and families who rely on the Canadian pig industry for their livelihood. Furthermore, the minister highlighted how the Economic Action Plan 2014 will build on actions already taken to increase Canada's openness to trade and investment and promote business competitiveness.

He also reiterated how the Government of Canada's investment in CPI, which was announced by Minister Ritz in January, will help provide Canadian pork producers with the tools they need to grow demand for their product, boost their profitability and increase access to both existing and emerging international markets such as Japan, the EU and South America.

When the Canada-EU trade agreement is fully implemented, the Canada, the world's third-largest pork producer, will have market access of up to 80,000 metric tons of pork that industry experts estimate could result in $400 million in new annual sales.

"Significant actions have been taken to ensure that Canadian pork producers can better compete in international markets. The ability of Canada's pork sector to adapt to changing trade environments, while continuing to produce a high-quality product at competitive pricing, makes it well positioned to compete in both established and emerging markets, said Bernier."

"The Canadian pork industry is dependent on export market sales as more than 60 percent of its production is exported outside of Canada, and we need to be fully recognized as a reliable supplier of high quality pork products for our industry to reach its full potential. Our industry benefits greatly by gaining access to new markets through the sustained efforts of the Government of Canada, and the contribution received under the AgriMarketing Program will be of great assistance as it now enables our association and its members to develop and implement a 5-year strategy, primarily aimed at differentiating our products from our competitors," added  Jacques Pomerleau, President of Canada Pork International.