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CPC Urges Action on Canada-Columbia FTA

by 5m Editor
6 November 2009, at 11:56am

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council is urging the federal government to make the ratification and implementation of a bilateral free trade agreement with Columbia a top priority, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Canada and Columbia have reached an agreement that will see the phasing down of in quota tariffs on pork over five years and the elimination of over quota tariffs eight years after that but the deal must be approved by parliament to take effect.

Canadian Pork Council Executive Director Martin Rice says the US has a pending free trade agreement with Columbia which provides for full elimination of tariffs over a much shorter time frame.

Martin Rice-Canadian Pork Council

The US Columbia deal eliminates all of the tariffs that apply to pork from the US in a much shorter period of time than us, under 10 years actually.

If their agreement were to go into place tomorrow we would find ourselves within five years being at quite a significant disadvantage to the United States.

However, if we look at the US agreement maybe needing to take another two to three years to get implemented, because the United States Congress has not been focusing on trade particularly, it could well be another couple of years so that would narrow significantly that period of time that we'll find ourselves at that disadvantage.

The size of these tariffs right now into Columbia are such that the US will have 10, 20, 30 per cent even advantage on tariff percentage levels over us within five years if we don't get our agreement in place soon.


Mr Rice notes the free agreement with Columbia is one of several that need to be concluded.

He says, given the breakdown of multilateral trade talks though the World Trade Organization, bilateral free trade agreements become that much more important for securing access to markets.