Earlier this week, China agreed to expand access for Canadian beef, committing to establishing the documentation requirements and fully implementing the 2016 bone-in beef agreement. The country also agreed to establish a pilot project to allow chilled beef and pork imports from Canada.
John Masswohl, director of government and international relations for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), was on the trade trip to China. It’s a file that’s been worked on since 2010, Masswohl says in the following interview, with gradual movement towards “full access for Canadian beef to the Chinese markets”.
RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney talks to John Masswohl of the CCA, about the history of the China trade file, the pilot project, further hopes for the future of trade with the country, access to the European market through CETA, and the latest update on NAFTA.
Since the 2016 announcement for access to bone-in Canadian beef, says Masswohl, the documentation, inspection and approval of facilities, and other necessary details to the agreement are nearly complete.
As for the pilot program, there is still much work to be done.
“But these are still important steps for us,” says Masswohl, who says that there are still opportunities in China.
“I think the good news in terms of free-trade discussions is the trade minister is still over there — they’re still talking about it…I’m not necessarily giving up that by the end of the week they won’t announce it.”
But, cautions Masswohl, even if they do announce the beginning of negotiations, reaching an agreement could be a multi-year process.
— John Masswohl (@JohnMasswohl) December 6, 2017
With both China and Europe (through the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement), likely the biggest challenge for Canada is fulfilling supply. The process is a little more costly, but Masswohl believes producers will see a return on investment.