CALGARY, AB: The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is very pleased to see a trade agreement in principle struck with the European Union that has the potential to greatly expand market opportunities for the Western Canadian grain and livestock sector.
“This deal is hugely important for western Canadian grain farmers,” says Levi Wood, President of the Wheat Growers. “Not only will we see improved market access for grains, but it will also be of substantial benefit to the beef and pork sector. Canadian cattle and hog farmers are major customers of our grain.”
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will significantly reduce and eventually eliminate tariffs on a wide range of grain exports, including wheat. In recent years, Canadian exports of durum and high-protein wheat have entered Europe duty-free, however the EU maintains the right to impose tariffs (up to 90 Euro per tonne on wheat) under existing trade rules. The CETA would see these tariffs reduced to zero over a seven-year period. The tariff that now applies on Canadian exports of low-protein wheat to Europe would also be eliminated over a seven-year period. Ending these tariffs creates trade certainty and greatly lessens the risk of future protectionist trade action.
Western Canadian farmers currently export about 70% of their wheat. Another 15% is sold to Canadian livestock producers. The deal with Europe will expand market opportunities for grain and oilseed exports, but even more importantly will lead to growth in sales to the domestic feed market.
“The best market for a grain farmer is often their neighbour,” says Wood. “Increasing domestic feedgrain use will not only strengthen local grain prices, but it will help preserve limited rail transportation capacity for the shipment of grain into high-value export markets, including Europe.”
“Overall, the CETA deal is a tremendous win for prairie grain farmers,” concludes Wood.
About the Wheat Growers:
Founded in 1970, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is a voluntary farmer-run advocacy organization dedicated to developing public policy solutions that strengthen the profitability and sustainability of farming, and the agricultural industry as a whole. For more information, please visit wheatgrowers.ca.