This week, the Canadian Cattle Association, Canadian Meat Council, and National Cattle Feeders’ Association launched the “Say No To A Bad Deal” campaign and website. The associations’ goal is to pressure the Canadian government into keeping Britain out of the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership — at least until a trade deal is made that they feel is more fair to Canadian producers.
The partnership was announced in July, welcoming Britain, the 12th member of the pact. Although International Trade Minister Mary Ng supports the addition, Canada’s red meat sector is vehemently opposed to the addition, saying that Britain hasn’t met the standards of the free trade agreement.
The problem is that Britain won’t permit Canadian pork or beef imports because the United Kingdom does not accept Canadian food safety systems.
“Trade is essential to the long-term sustainability of the beef sector, and Canada needs and deserves fair and reciprocal access to the UK,” says Will Lowe, Chair of the National Cattle Feeders’ Association.
According to the Canadian Cattle Association, the proposed agreement will see the UK exporting over $50 million of their meat products into the Canadian market, while Canada will be unable to export any meat products into their market,” the organizations said in a news release.
“The world-class standards of Canada’s red meat sector have set benchmarks across the industry,” says Chris White, President and CEO of the Canadian Meat Council. “Not only will this deal hurt the pockets of Canadian meat processors and farmers, it additionally puts consumers at risk by deprioritizing scientific-based controls and lowering the bar for international regulations.”
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The associations are asking that Britain’s bid to join the CPTPP be delayed until they meet trade principles that match what they call “a high standard for trade liberalization and science-based rules.”
“Above all, we must maintain the integrity of the CPTPP. Canadian farmers and producers are pro-trade and want to expand access to global markets, bad deals that hurt Canada are not acceptable,” reads the Say No to a Bad Deal website. “Trade should not be about short-term political wins; it should be about long-term mutual gain with predictable, science-based trade rules.”
According to BIV, the Canadian government is working on a bilateral deal with Britain, within CPTPP, to sort out issues like the red meat trade. However, the groups are also concerned about the future of the CPTPP and the standards that other countries wanting to join the deal should be required to make.
“Beef farmers and ranchers produce the highest quality beef, with superior food safety standards, and we will not lower our standards for any trade deal. The CPTPP sets a high standard for progressive trade, and the deal proposed with the UK would set a dangerous precedent for future countries looking to join,” said Nathan Phinney, President of the Canadian Cattle Association.
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