Harper Government strengthening trade relations with Japan -

Canada's second-largest agricultural export market

Ottawa, Ontario, May 29, 2012 - Pierre Lemieux, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture, has returned from Japan, where he worked to strengthen Canada's agriculture and trade ties while promoting the mutual benefits of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the two countries.

"Canada's agriculture producers and processors depend on the Japanese market. That's why our Government continues to make international trade a priority," said Parliamentary Secretary Lemieux. "Consumers in both Tokyo and Toronto will have more choices for high-quality food as our two countries strengthen our trade relationship."

Canada is committed to deepening its economic ties with Japan by ensuring that trade flows freely between the countries. Japan is the third-largest economy in the world and is Canada's second-largest agriculture market. Japan's market is worth almost $4 billion for Canadian farmers and food processors. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister of Japan, launched the negotiations toward an Economic Partnership Agreement in March 2012, during Prime Minister Harper's visit to Japan.

While in Japan, Parliamentary Secretary Lemieux met with his counterpart and expressed Canada's appreciation for Japan's recent decision to review its domestic and import regulations for beef. The Canadian Cattlemen's Association estimates that Canadian beef sales to Japan could rise to $160 million in the first year of full access.

PS Lemieux also had the privilege of opening a Canadian Maple Syrup Festival and of promoting maple syrup to the Japanese. He met with the seafood industry and discussed ways to build the Canadian brand and increase recognition in the Japanese market.

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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