Agri-Food Trade Policy
Technical Trade Issues
Technical trade barriers are important, growing, and in many cases, complex issues faced by Canadian companies exporting agriculture and food products abroad. A technical trade barrier arises from the development of new disciplines developed in multilateral fora and/or domestic regulations and technical standards which have the potential to restrict trade.
While the strengthening of international trade rules has had a positive effect on traditional barriers to trade such as tariffs and tariff rate quotas, technical trade barriers have been steadily emerging in the international marketplace. The public profile of these technical trade issues has increased dramatically in recent years as consumers around the world have become much more concerned and knowledgeable about food safety and quality issues. Consumers are paying more attention to the impact of agriculture on the environment, and are more interested in governments' policy and regulatory objectives relating to the agricultural sector.
The international trading system has taken on an increasingly consumer-driven focus. It is paying more attention to maintaining public confidence in the food safety and food quality systems, while simultaneously taking steps to ensure a sound, science-based approach to addressing regulatory/technical trade issues. Given the Canadian agri-food sector's focus on international markets, international standards and domestic requirements related to food safety and food cannot be ignored. Therefore, AAFC is taking a very active role in various international fora to reduce the number of technical trade issues in order to ensure market access for Canadian agriculture and agri-food products.
AAFC is a major contributor to the development of policy positions regarding several technical issues being reviewed by a number of international organizations and committees such as the World Wine Trade Group, Codex Alimentarius Commission and the Organization for International Epizootics as well as the World Trade Organization committees on Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Trade and the Environment, and Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). In addition, AAFC has contributed to policy positions regarding international agreements such as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Biosafety Protocol), the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources (ITPGR).
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
- International Plant Protection Convention
- World Health Organization (WHO)
For more information, please contact:
Technical Trade Policy Division