Sunday, March 25, 2012
Japanese tempura just wouldn’t be the same without Canadian canola. Japan is also one of the most stable and long-term buyers of Canadian canola. This shared importance makes today’s announcement of negotiations for a Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement good news for the canola industry.
“We’re extremely pleased to see free trade negotiations start with Japan,” says Canola Council of Canada (CCC) Market Development vice president Cory McArthur, who was in Japan with Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Concluding an agreement could increase market access for canola and increase the value of our products in one of our largest markets.”
Trade in canola is important to both Canada and Japan. Worth about $1.4 billion in 2011, Japan is one of the largest markets for Canadian canola – demanding more than 2.3 million tonnes of seed last year. In fact, according to Industry Canada canola was the second most valuable Canadian export to Japan in each of the last five years. For Japan, oil from Canadian canola represents more than 40% of their vegetable oil consumption.
“Deepening our relationship with Japan just makes sense,” says McArthur. “We look forward to negotiating an agreement that offers real gains for freer and more predictable trade.”
The announcement in Japan comes on the heels of a joint study examining the benefits of a partnership agreement. Released in early March, the report by the Canadian and Japanese governments found the potential for Canada to increase its GDP by US$3.8 to $9.0B. Japan stands to gain US$4.4 to $4.9B with an agreement.
Beginning negotiations with Japan is the latest in the Government of Canada’s ambitious efforts to expand market access for Canadian products – market access that is critical to canola with over 85% exported each year. Canada’s efforts to engage Japan in serious free trade negotiations shows the type of commitment to comprehensive market access sought by countries in the Trans Pacific Partnership.
“It’s important that the momentum created by engaging Japan carries over to ongoing efforts to join the Trans Pacific Partnership,” says McArthur. “The expanding economies of the Asia-Pacific region are vital to canola exports.”
Canola is Canada’s most valuable crop, generating over $15.4 billion in economic activity each year and is responsible for 228,000 jobs. The CCC is a full value chain organization representing the entire canola industry, including growers, seed developers, crushers and exporters.
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For further comment, media may call:
Cory McArthur, vice-president Market Development
Canola Council of Canada