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AGRI Committee Report

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The Government of Canada is pleased to respond to the Report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food (the Committee) entitled: Canadian Agriculture and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. The Government of Canada shares the Committee’s commitment to ensuring that the Canada-European Union (EU) trade agreement contributes to Canada’s economic prosperity and promotes greater opportunities for Canadian agricultural producers, processors and exporters. The Government agrees with the overall direction of the Report in providing recommendations aimed at identifying the potential impacts of the Canada-EU trade agreement on Canada’s agricultural and agri-food sector. The Committee focused its research on the reactions of industry to the Canada-EU trade agreement in principle announced on October 18, 2013.

The Government Response outlines several measures the Government of Canada has taken to support Canadian stakeholders throughout the Canada-EU trade agreement negotiations. The Government has carefully reviewed the recommendations in the Committee’s Report and welcomes the opportunity to respond to each of the Committee’s recommendations in full. 


The Committee recommends the approval of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement in parliament and all provincial and territorial governments to expedite the economic benefits it will bring to Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.

The Government supports this recommendation. Upon its completion, the Canada-European Union (EU) trade agreement will be the Government of Canada’s most ambitious trade initiative to date, encompassing virtually all aspects of trade between Canada and the EU. The Government is committed to the implementation of the Canada-EU trade agreement on a priority basis, recognizing the many opportunities and benefits that the agreement will bring to Canadians. Once negotiations are concluded, the Government will move forward expeditiously with the next steps in Canada’s treaty approval process, which includes the legal review of the text, the tabling of the agreement in Parliament and the enactment of domestic implementing legislation. 

The Canada-EU trade agreement negotiations have been the most open, transparent and collaborative trade negotiations in Canadian history. From the beginning, the Government worked closely with provinces and territories at the negotiating table to ensure that an agreement with the EU would serve the interests of all provinces and territories, and the broader interests of the Canadian economy. The Government is committed to continuing this close collaboration as we move toward implementation. 

The Government is committed to ensuring that Canadian exporters, including Canadian agricultural and agri-food exporters, are well-positioned to take full advantage of the Canada-EU trade agreement’s opportunities once it is in full implementation. Since the announcement of the

agreement-in-principle on October 18, 2013, the Government has been working to promote the benefits of the Canada-EU trade agreement for Canadian agricultural producers, processors and exporters. This work will build on ongoing programs that support this sector, such as the Growing Forward 2 framework, which focuses on innovation, competitiveness and market development to ensure that Canadian producers and processors have the tools and resources they need to innovate and capitalize on emerging market opportunities.


The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada continue its strong defense of supply-management to promote sustained growth and profitability in the supply-managed sectors of the economy. 

The Government supports the Committee’s recommendation to continue its strong defence of supply management to promote sustained growth and profitability in the supply-managed sectors of the economy.

Supply management is the national system that dairy, poultry, and egg producers have chosen for their operations. The Government of Canada respects their choice and continues to strongly support the system, at home and on the international stage. This position has been consistently and repeatedly stated by the Government of Canada, including in the Speech from the Throne, October 2013. The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to each of the three pillars of our domestic system of supply management: production control, import controls, and price controls. 

At the international level, Canada continues to firmly defend the interests that are important to supply-managed sectors in all international trade negotiations. At the same time, Canada also remains committed to further strengthening market access opportunities for Canadian agricultural exporters. 

The Government recognizes that import controls are important for maintaining the integrity of the supply management system, and is committed to their enforcement. For example, the Government recently amended Canada’s Customs Tariff to ensure its consistent application, specifically, by addressing a gap whereby certain dairy imported goods could be packaged in a deliberate manner solely to circumvent Canada’s tariff structure. 


The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada use the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union to move toward harmonizing and synchronizing approval processes for new agriculture and agri-food technologies   

The Government supports this recommendation. The Government of Canada is committed to seeking greater international economic opportunities for Canadian business, including the promotion of new technologies in the agriculture and agri-food sector through bilateral mechanisms created within the Canada-European Union (EU) trade agreement. Innovation, including that brought about through the use of new agriculture and agri-food technologies, is critical to the ongoing profitability and competitiveness of the sector. The Canada-EU trade agreement will encourage the Parties to work towards regulatory convergence, while preserving each Party’s ability to regulate in the public interest.

The Canada-EU trade agreement will be the first Canadian bilateral trade agreement to create a Regulatory Cooperation Forum as a venue for Canadian and EU cooperation and information-sharing, including in the areas of agriculture and agri-food technologies. The Canada-EU trade agreement will also be the first trade agreement to contain language on cooperation on biotechnology products, including: promoting efficient science-based approval processes for products of biotechnology; emphasizing the importance of cooperating internationally on issues such as low level presence of genetically modified organisms; and engaging in regulatory cooperation to minimize adverse trade impacts of regulatory practices for products of biotechnology. Strengthened cooperation and information sharing between Canadian and EU regulators will create the opportunity to better understand regulatory approaches and help avoid unjustified barriers to trade, thus making it easier for Canadians to do business in the EU. 


The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada work with industry to ensure that the term “maple” is adequately recognized by the European Union so that maple products are not subject to unfair competition from substitutes.   

The Government supports this recommendation, recognizing the maple industry’s concerns regarding potential unfair competition from substitutes. The European Union (EU) provides legal protection against fraudulent labelling practices for all products with enforcement activities being carried out at the member state level. The EU legislation related to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs aims to inform and protect consumers from misleading claims, including the nature, identity, properties and composition of products.

The Canada-EU trade agreement will establish institutional mechanisms where issues that impact trade can be raised so that Canada and the EU can work to address issues such as this one in a timely manner. Even before the Canada-EU trade agreement enters into force, Canada can raise specific concerns in other trade-focused forums such as the Canada-EU Trade and Investment Sub-Committee.


The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada continue to pursue additional comprehensive trade agreements to open new markets and provide opportunities for growth for Canadian agricultural and food exporters.   

The Government supports this recommendation. As recognized in the Government’s Global Markets Action Plan, broadening access to key international markets strengthens Canada’s economy by promoting Canadian competitiveness internationally. The Government places high importance on the promotion of new opportunities for the agricultural and agri-food sector, as a cornerstone of Canada’s economy. The Government is committed to the pursuit of comprehensive trade agreements with key economies that will provide Canadian producers, processors, and exporters, including in the agricultural and agri-food sector, with improved market access and new export opportunities. 

Further to this objective, the Government continues to actively pursue trade agreements with established and emerging markets. Most recently, the Government concluded negotiations of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, Canada’s first free trade agreement in Asia. This landmark agreement will offer great potential to Canadian agricultural exporters by facilitating enhanced access to the South Korean market and providing a larger gateway to the dynamic and fast-growing Asia-Pacific region. The Government is also currently negotiating with a number of other key trading partners, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, Japan, and India. There are also multilateral negotiations underway at the World Trade Organization.