The Canadian government said the excursions to China and India will help build prosperous and sustainable futures for each country’s farming and agriculture industries.
Ritz met with China’s minister of agriculture Han Changfu to work on securing permanent access for Canadian live cattle, valued by industry at CA$150 million annually once fully implemented. This follows China’s earlier commitment to grant access to Canadian under-30-month bone-in beef, valued by industry at CA$140m each year.
The Canadian minister also spoke at the 3rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting on Food Security in Beijing, addressing issues such as open trade, and cooperation on biotechnology. Also during the APEC forum, he announced an organic equivalency arrangement with Japan, which recognises the organic production and certification systems in each country, making it easier to sell organic products in either.
In India, Ritz was introduced to a number of newly-elected ministers, such as the minister of agriculture Shri Radha Mohan Singh. The introductions and discussions helped establish new relationships and strengthen Canada’s position as a key partner in India’s modernisation of its agriculture sector. Ritz also met minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman to work on the goals set out in the Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations.
One important result for Canada from its ongoing work with India is agreeing market access for Canadian bulls to India for breeding purposes. It is estimated that the agreement will provide an estimated CA$9.6m in new export opportunities over the next three years for Canadian cattle producers, while increasing the genetic quality of India’s herd.
Ritz said: "One of the ways our government continues to create jobs with new opportunities for Canadian businesses is by opening new markets around the world, including the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region.
"This mission has strengthened Canada’s agricultural trading relationship with both China and India, two of the world’s largest emerging economies. We will continue to work to expand and improve market access around the globe for Canada’s agriculture sector, while in turn creating quality jobs for hard working Canadians back at home."