ARCHIVED - Harper Government Helps Farmers Access More Markets and a Better Bottom Line

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Ottawa, Ontario, October 24, 2011 - The Harper Government is creating new trade opportunities for the benefit of farmers, says a recent analysis of the work by the Federal Market Access Team. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz released the report today and highlighted that among other positive results, Canadian beef exports to Russia have more than tripled in value since increased beef access was gained in recent years.

The report highlights accomplishments between January 2010 and March 2011 in ten key markets for commodities including beef, pork, canola, wheat, pulses and animal genetics. It shows that by collaborating and coordinating market-access efforts and activities, the federal government, provinces, territories and industry have succeeded in reopening, maintaining and expanding markets for many Canadian agricultural and food products.

Canadian beef exports to Russia more than tripled (328%) by value and surpassed $23 million ($23.8M) in 2010 after increased beef access was gained in 2009 and confirmed in 2010. Canada has also secured a more stable trading environment with China after negotiating transitional measures for canola seed exports, which enabled farmers to maintain exports of canola (seed, oil and meal) to China in excess of $1.8 billion in both 2009 and 2010.

In 2009, Minister Ritz created the Market Access Secretariat (MAS) to coordinate government initiatives with industry to pursue new and existing markets for the agriculture sector. The MAS is closely working with the Federal Market Access Team which gather resources from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Foreign Affaires and International Trade, supported by a Senior Market Access Coordinating Committee.

The federal government, provinces and territories work with the industry to discuss market access progress and priorities for agricultural trade. The Canadian agriculture and processed food sector is a key driver of Canada's economy and growth. The potential for growth of the sector lies mainly in Canada's ability to expand its markets abroad.

Canada is the world's fifth largest exporter of agriculture and food products with annual exports worth over $35 billion. Canada's trade in agriculture and food products contributed more than $11 billion to our trade surplus.

The report is available on AAFC website at: www.ats-sea.agr.gc.ca/exp/5892-eng.htm

For more information, media may contact:

Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972

Meagan Murdoch
Director of Communications
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

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