Trade Issues the Focus at Agriculture Meeting

The Federal, Provincial, and Territorial (FPT) Ministers of Agriculture concluded their two-day annual meeting in Quebec City on July 19.

During the meeting, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen strongly recommended the federal government take urgent action to provide support to the agriculture industry in the short and long term.

The industry is currently experiencing numerous trade issues across several markets including:

  • Restrictive practices involving fumigation requirements and quota restrictions on pulse crop imports with India. 
  • Negative ramifications of Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) on durum wheat exports to Italy.
  • Continued trade tension between Canada and China, with China blocking Canadian canola from entering its market due to an alleged pest issue and its customs agency planning to increase inspections of Canadian pork and pork product imports.
  • Continuation of Saudi Arabia’s ban on trade with Canada, including wheat and barley.

“Alberta farmers are caught in the middle of a bunch of international fights that have nothing to do with them. The industry needs the federal government to pay attention to the impacts of the current trade issues on Alberta’s supply chain.”Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Quick facts

  • India is a significant market for Alberta pulses such as dried peas and lentils, totalling $28 million as of 2018.
  • Until recently, Alberta’s durum wheat exports to the EU averaged $67 million, with Italy accounting for an average of $47 million (70 per cent). In 2018, Alberta’s durum exports to the EU dropped to $22 million, the lowest value since 2002.
  • In 2018, Alberta’s agrifood exports to China totalled $2.6 billion, with canola seed accounting for $812 million.
  • Last year, pork was Alberta’s sixth-largest agriculture export in value – we exported $492 million worth of pork products to more than 20 nations.
  • Wheat and barley accounted for more than 93 per cent of Alberta’s agrifood exports to Saudi Arabia between 2014 and 2017.