July 30, 1998

On July 16, 1998, federal and provincial agriculture ministers strongly supported a goal to double agri-food exports by early in the next century. Following their annual two-day meeting, agriculture ministers agreed to work with industry to reach a target of 4% of world agri-food trade by the year 2005. Last year, exports of agricultural and agri-food products topped $22.3 billion, or 3% of world agricultural trade. Ministers cited a study that estimates that this sector will create more than 200,000 Canadian jobs if the export target is met.

Industry's export goal is emphasized as part of Canada's International Business Strategy (CIBS) which recognizes the need for Canada to become more globally competitive. It calls for a "more sharply focussed, streamlined effort, coordinated among industry, federal and provincial governments, in support of industry's export drive . . ." Among the government's efforts to support this strategy is a focus on "Improving Market Access". This involves seeking new opportunities, managing trade issues with the US and other major trading partners as well as negotiating market access priorities under the WTO and other fora.

Canadian Agri-Food Alliance welcomes new members

In July 1998 the Canadian Alliance of Agri-Food Exporters welcomed five new members to its effort to promote the interests of agri-food exporters in the lead-up to the next World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations expected to begin in late 1999. The Alliance now has 15 members whose exports in 1997 topped $15 billion - 75% of Canadian agri-food exports. The Alliance would like to see the Canadian government take a lead role in the WTO negotiations to advance the interests of Canada's agri-food exporters, reflecting the growing importance of agri-food exports to economic and job growth.

The Canadian Sugar Institute is an active member of the Alliance and fully supports the Alliance goals to achieve major gains in export access to key markets as well as meaningful and predictable reductions in trade distorting practices.