Member of the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) Board of Directors and New Brunswick pork producer Hans Kristensen witnessed firsthand the incredible opportunities for the pork industry in China. Canadian pork producers were represented by Mr. Kristensen during a very successful week-long trade mission to China led by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay.
“I am very thankful for having been able to join Minister MacAulay on the mission to China,” says Mr. Kristensen. “I was very proud to represent Canada and its pork producers during this trip and note the tremendous export opportunities present in China and the entire Asian region,” he explains.
Chinese consumers, on a per capita basis, consume close to three times the amount of pork eaten by Canadians. With a population of 1.4 billion people, China is a vast market opportunity for Canadian pork products. China’s fast-growing middle class is demanding ever-increasing volumes of safe, high-quality food, as well as premium products. Chinese consumers have a favorable view of imported foods and Canada is correctly viewed as a clean and wholesome supplier of safe, high-quality products.
However, Canada is at risk of falling behind as producers in Australia, the European Union and the United States, in particular, have already positioned themselves as important suppliers of pork. Australia’s geographic advantage, new rail lines from the EU, and the USA’s strong focus on trade with China, mean they are becoming increasingly competitive.
Capitalizing on the market opportunity requires greater market access to China, Japan and South East Asian nations. The Government of Canada must focus on securing a free trade agreement with China and move quickly to finalize the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Canadian Pork Council Chair Rick Bergmann is asking the Government of Canada to build on this momentum and make gains before other countries solidify their positions: “Gaining access to China for chilled pork products is one of the key avenues to growing the pork industry by gaining access to the premium retail store shelf.” An increase in pork exports would contribute to Canada achieving its target of $75 billion in exports by 2025 as outlined in Budget 2017.