Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz today completed a trade mission to China and India to open new markets for Canadian farmers and agriculture industries.

Of particular note, Minister Ritz met with China’s Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu to work to secure permanent access for Canadian live cattle valued by industry at $150 million annually once fully implemented. This is building upon China’s earlier commitment to grant access for Canadian Under Thirty Month (UTM) bone-in beef valued by industry at $140 million annually. Ongoing work with China is anticipated to result in access for fresh Canadian cherries, valued by industry at $20 million annually, and for Canadian blueberries, valued by industry at up to $65 million annually once fully implemented.

Minister Ritz also announced that Canada has signed a new organic equivalency arrangement with Japan. Coming into effect January 1, 2015, the arrangement recognizes the organic production and certification systems in each country, making it easier to sell organic products in either country presenting new opportunities for Canadian producers and processors.  Industry estimates that this arrangement will enable Canadian organics exports to Japan to reach $20 million annually within the next five years. He also took the opportunity to meet with Malaysia’s Agriculture Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Indonesia’s Agriculture Minister Suswono to discuss market access priorities.

Minister Ritz met for the first time with India’s Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal, as well as with India’s Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan to press for the identification of high-quality Canadian canola oil on consumer labels and to promote Canadian pulses and Canadian capabilities in grain handling, logistics and storage systems. Labeling challenges are seen as a major detriment to moving more canola oil into India (the word ‘canola’ is not recognized there).

An agreement has also been reached securing market access for Canadian bulls to India for breeding purposes. This access will provide an industry estimated $9.6 million in new export opportunities ($4 million annually attributed to dairy genetics) over the next three years for Canadian cattle producers, while increasing the genetic quality of India’s herd.

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