Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pork council joins coalition pressuring Japan

The Canadian Pork Council has joined a coalition pressuring Japan to stop protecting its farmers in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations.

That draws attention to the split among Canadian farmers. The beef, hog and grain farmers want access to markets; the dairy and poultry farmers want continuation of high tariffs that shield them from competition.

Martin Rice, chief executive for the Canadian Pork Council, told Globe and Mail reporter and columnist Barrie McKenna that the negotiations are stalled because Japan, Canada and others are unwilling to offer tariff and trade concessions for agriculture products that would increase competition and probably lower prices in their domestic markets.

Rice said he doesn’t blame Canada.

He said everybody seems to be waiting for the United States and Japan to reach an agreement and then others might offer agriculture-sector concessions to strike the kind of deal that the Trans-Pacific Trade negotiations are intended to achieve.

Others in the coalition who have written to the TPP negotiators include the National Pork Producers Council representing hog farmers in the United States and the governments of Australia, Chile and Mexico.

The Japanese protect their domestic beef and pork markets via variable-rate tariffs.