Foothills M.P., John Barlow, recently returned from a trade mission to the European Union, where he accompanied the Federal Ag Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, to promote Canadian agriculture.

The Associate Agriculture Critic says, the purpose of the mission was to lay the ground work, and build good relationships through the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Barlow attended Anuga, the world's largest food and beverage show, held in Cologne, Germany, the G7 Agriculture Summit in Taormina, Italy, and World Food Day in Rome.

"We had a great opportunity to support our industries there. At the Food and Beverage Show, we had dozens of representatives from Canadian industries, everything from beef, pork, bison, grains, and pulses."

CETA provides opportunities for Canadian producers, but we also have to ensure we are aware of any non-trade barriers that come up, Barlow says.

"Country of origin labelling could very well be one. Another one is carcass washing. There's some issues with how livestock carcasses are handled, and another one we just learned about is tracing on the organic side, so any organic products that want to be sold in Europe have to go through a trace process."

It will take a while before Canada can take full advantage of this new Canada- European Union trade agreement.

Uncertainty is also starting to build around the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is why these new market oppurtunities are so important.

"I think we'll still have a market in the United States. It will be different, and we'll have to take a look at what that future brings, but I think we have a great opportunity to look at new markets. Not only through CETA, but through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as well."

Other trade issues are starting to rise for Canada, such as Japan raising the tariff on our frozen beef to 50 percent. There is also no agreement in place for Canadian pulses entering India, which Barlow says is concerning, since our country is one of the largest pulse exporters in the world, and one of our main markets is India.

Barlow says, we need the Liberal Government to step up, and tackle these outstanding issues, which are inhibiting some of our trade opportunities.

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