Feds’ livestock market access office names chief

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s new market access secretariat for the livestock industry has named its man at the top.

Fred Gorrell, who started as director general of the market access secretariat in Ottawa on Monday, has a resume steeped in Canada’s international livestock trade.

Gorrell, before his new appointment, was executive director for international policy at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and before that was one of Canada’s top defensemen in Washington, D.C. during the BSE crisis, as the agriculture counselor (2004-07) at the Canadian embassy there.

Gorrell is also credited for helping negotiate market access for Canadian pork and beef in China during that country’s entry to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

This new secretariat (which typically is an agency set up as a permanent, administrative department of government) is part of AAFC’s market and industry services branch (MISB).

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced the formation of the secretariat in January, with the expectation that it will “better co-ordinate government initiatives with producers and industry to aggressively and strategically go after new markets and keep pace with international competitors.”

The secretariat is expected to include a range of trade experts to promote Canadian ag and agri-food exports worldwide and carry a particular focus on the country’s beleaguered cattle sector.

Ag industry groups and experts have long urged Ottawa to devote added energy to diversifying export markets beyond the United States, particularly through bilateral trade agreements.

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