China, Canada sign agricultural trade partnership that aims to provide long-term, stable, predictable market access for Canadian wheat, barley, soybeans to China

BEIJING , June 14, 2013 (press release) – During his most recent trade mission to Hong Kong and China, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz highlighted the mutual benefit of stronger agricultural and trade ties between the region and Canada in meetings with government officials, investors and industry.

"Our Government is committed to working with our trading partners from Hong Kong and China, to generate economic growth and prosperity on both sides of the Pacific," said Minister Ritz. "We continue to strengthen our agricultural trade ties, building on longstanding collaboration built with our Hong Kong and Chinese partners over many years".

China is a rapidly growing market for Canadian farmers with export sales of agricultural products to China worth 5 billion in 2012 and Minister Ritz reiterated Canada's commitment to doubling bilateral trade by 2015. In 2012, Hong Kong was Canada's fifth largest agri-food export market with agriculture and agri-food products totalling 753 million, representing an increase of 26% over 2011.

In Beijing, Minister Ritz met with his counterparts from the Ministry of Agriculture and from China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.The two governments discussed next steps on a commitment to increase exports of Canadian beef and tallow to China. According to Canada Beef Inc., the Chinese market for Canadian beef and tallow is expected to be worth 110 million once full market access is achieved. China imported over 10 million of deboned Canadian beef in 2012.

Minister Ritz signed two agreements with his Chinese counterparts, including a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish an animal health working group. He also signed a second agreement on Grains and Oilseeds that aims to provide long-term, stable and predictable market access for Canadian wheat, barley and soybeans to China. To minimize the risks of trade disruptions and contribute to global food security goals, China has also approved a number of new genetically engineered crop applications that are essential to continue to foster innovation in both Canada and China. Minister Ritz also witnessed the signing of another MOU between the Canadian International Grains Institute and Wilmar, a Chinese agribusiness group interested in buying Canadian wheat and pulses.

In Hong Kong, Minister Ritz met with his counterpart, industry and investors to discuss sales opportunities for Canadian products and attended promotional events to raise the demand for Canada's high-quality agricultural products which will provide additional export opportunities for Canadian businesses. These events were attended by Canadian industry, media, importers, retailers and investors with the goal of raising Canadas profile and increasing the demand for Canadian agricultural products.

Minister Ritz was pleased to report success on new market access for fresh cherry exports from British Columbia to China. The BC Cherry Association estimates that by 2014, the sales value of fresh cherries to China will be 10 million, increasing to 20 million over the next 5 years. British Columbia's fresh blueberry market access was also raised, with a commitment to reach an agreement by 2014.

These announcements are examples of what is being accomplished to enhance competitiveness and long-term growth in Canadian agriculture - priorities under the Growing Forward (GF 2) policy framework. In addition to multi-year funding for risk management programs, GF 2 includes 3 billion in strategic initiatives for innovation, competitiveness and market development.

Under (GF 2), in response to industry's requests, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada expanded the number of flagship trade shows we support with a new focus on expanding Canada's presence in Asian markets.

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