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Harper Government Opens International Markets and Creates Trade Opportunities for the Benefit of Farmers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 11/08/12 -- The Harper Government is opening markets and creating more trade opportunities for the benefit of farmers and the food industry, outlined in a report issued by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Ed Fast. Minister Ritz released the report at the Annual Market Access Meeting. The 2011-2012 Agriculture and Agri-Food Market Access Report demonstrates how the Harper Government works closely with industry and with the provincial and territorial governments to reopen, maintain, and expand markets for Canadian agricultural products.

"Opening and expanding agricultural markets around the world provides opportunities for our farmers to drive the Canadian economy, create jobs, and set the stage for greater prosperity in the future," said Minister Ritz. "More exports mean more jobs for Canadians, more money for farmers, and long-term growth for Canada."

"Our government understands that opening new markets to increase our world-class agriculture exports creates jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity in every region of our country," said Minister Fast. "That is why, as we refresh the Government's Global Commerce Strategy, we are working hard to strengthen and expand existing trade relationships and undertaking the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history."

Key achievements highlighted in the Report include:

--  Restoring access for Canadian beef under 30 months of age to South
    Korea, which industry estimates could reach $30 million in sales by
--  Maintaining access for Canadian canola to China, a market worth $1.6
    billion in 2011, and; 
--  The successful challenge of U.S. country-of-origin labelling at the
    World Trade Organization, which should lead to the end of discrimination
    against Canadian exports of cattle and hogs that cost industry hundreds
    of millions of dollars. 

This year's report also includes five success stories that provide a more in-depth look at the major accomplishments.

The Federal Market Access Team draws on perspectives of the Canadian agricultural industry to help focus market access efforts, set priorities, and allocate resources to the markets and cross-commodity market access issues that have the greatest potential. The Harper Government's coordinated approach provides a focused strategy and actions to support the competitiveness of Canadian agricultural and agri-food products, profitability for the sector, and continued growth.

Canada is the world's sixth-largest exporter of agriculture and food products with exports worth over $40 billion in 2011. Canada's agricultural trade contributed more than $9.2 billion to our trade surplus in 2011.

This report is another example of what is being accomplished to enhance competitiveness and long-term growth in Canadian agriculture, a priority under the Growing Forward 2 policy framework. In addition to multi-year funding for risk management programs, Growing Forward 2 also includes $3 billion in strategic initiatives for innovation, competitiveness, and market development.

The report is available on AAFC website at http://www4.agr.gc.ca/AAFC-AAC/display-afficher.do?id=1352240788033&lang=eng

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario

Jeff English
Press Secretary
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz

Adam Taylor, Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and
Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
[email protected]

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade

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