Talks wrap on Canada/Ukraine free trade pact

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper meet at Meech Lake’s Willson House at Chelsea, Que. on Tuesday. (Deb Ransom photo courtesy PMO)

Canada’s crop and livestock producers expect to benefit soon from a free trade agreement with Ukraine, on which the two countries’ governments have now formally completed talks.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Tuesday, during a visit from Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, that trade negotiations between the two countries wrapped up in Kiev on July 9, and now go to the respective governments for ratification votes.

A further timeline wasn’t released, except to say the two countries aim “to have the agreement in force as soon as possible.” Negotiations had been ongoing since 2009.

The agreement, as announced Tuesday, calls for elimination of “the vast majority” of Ukraine’s tariffs on Canadian agricultural and agri-food imports, the government said. That includes duty-free access for Canadian beef, pulses, grains, canola oil, processed foods and animal feed.

Canadian pork producers will benefit from improved access to Ukraine’s market by way of a “large” tariff rate quota (TRQ), an agreed-upon level under which frozen pork may enter Ukraine duty-free.

“We look forward to the upcoming visit by Ukrainian government inspectors which should allow additional Canadian pork processing plants to become eligible to export to Ukraine,” Canadian Pork Council chair Rick Bergmann of Steinbach, Man. said in a separate release Tuesday.

The pork sector, he said, has estimated the value of duty-free access for Canadian pork up to the TRQ at between $30 million and $40 million.

When fully implemented, a Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement will provide duty-free access to Ukraine for an “unlimited quantity” of beef and veal, duty-free access for 20,000 tonnes of frozen pork, and duty-free access for an unlimited quantity of fresh chilled pork, the Canadian Meat Council said in a separate release.

In 2014, by comparison, Canada’s meat exports to Ukraine included 25 tonnes of beef and veal products, valued at $47,000 and 2,031 tonnes of pork, valued at $4.4 million, the CMC said.

“A survey of Canada’s meat processors has confirmed the existence of a long-term interest in trade with Ukraine,” CMC president Joe Reda said, “not only as a supplier of high-quality protein to Ukraine’s 45 million citizens, but also in the context of Ukraine’s access to the European Union and its trade with the countries of eastern Europe.”

Across all sectors, the government said Tuesday, the deal would see Canada’s exports to Ukraine increase by $41.2 million per year, while Ukraine is expected to see a $23.7 million expansion in exports to Canada, mainly in textiles, apparels and metal products. — Network


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