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Recent interest in trade expansion is encouraging to the beef industry, says the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).
In September, both Taiwan and China formally applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which currently includes Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Britain began negotiating to join the CPTPP in June, and South Korea is also interested.
“We expect the Asian region to hold the largest potential for growth in beef demand over the next 25 years and securing further access to key Asian markets is a priority for us,” said Bob Lowe, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, in a release.
“We are encouraged to see other countries’ interest in joining CPTPP, as long as they meet the ambitious nature of the trade agreement, which should open and expand exports for Canadian beef farmers and ranchers.”
Canadian beef producers export approximately 50 per cent of beef produced in Canada, which adds up to another C$775 per animal, the CCA says. Since CPTPP came into effect on December 30, 2018, Canadian beef exports have been on the rise. From January to August 2021 alone, exports to CPTPP countries rose 60 per cent in volume and 66 per cent in value, the CCA notes.
However, China’s decision to apply to join CPTPP has left Taiwan uneasy.
Wang Mei-hua, Taiwan’s economy minister, expressed concern about China’s application and said she hoped it would not affect Taiwan’s own application, Reuters reported in September.
While Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), the island nation has been shut out of many international organizations because of Beijing’s insistence that it is part of China’s territory.
Whether or not current members of the trade pact allow China to join remains to be seen. The CPTPP’s predecessor, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, although never ratified, was conceived as a counter-balance to China’s influence. As well, China’s relationship with some member countries, including Canada and Australia, has become strained in recent months.
Japan, the CPTPP’s chair this year, has said it would consult with member countries regarding China’s request, Reuters reported.
“Japan believes that it’s necessary to determine whether China, which submitted a request to join the TPP-11, is ready to meet its extremely high standards,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s economy minister.