Canada livestock farmers big winners in EU deal, dairy a loser

Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:54pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba Oct 18 (Reuters) - Canada's hog and beef cattle farmers, stinging from a trade dispute with the United States, look to be among the biggest Canadian winners in a free trade agreement sealed with the European Union on Friday.

The deal looks less promising for Canadian dairy farmers, consumers of pharmaceutical drugs and government suppliers, who will face new stiff competition from Europe.

The deal will make Canada the only G8 country - and one of the only developed nations anywhere - with preferential access to the world's two largest markets, the EU and the United States, home to a total of 800 million people, compared to Canada's 35 million.

"The Canadian government has secured real and substantial access to one of the world's few billion-dollar export markets, and they did it ahead of our major competitors," said Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance executive director Kathleen Sullivan

Taking advantage of the deal hinges on Canadian meat processors investing in plants that meet strict European requirements, including for example, no use of wood, said Martin Rice, executive director of the Canadian Pork Council.

It will also require more Canadian farmers raising cattle without growth hormones to satisfy European requirements.

Beef and pork groups were pushing Ottawa to negotiate large enough quotas to make such changes by farmers and meat processors like Cargill Ltd, JBS USA, Maple Leaf Foods and Olymel LP economically sound.

Canada wins duty-free access for up to 80,000 tonnes of pork a year, up from an existing quota for 6,000 tonnes, and 65,000 tonnes of beef.   Continued...