VANCOUVER, Oct. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - "The Canada-Europe Trade Agreement will enable our producers to fulfill their potential and expand into new markets," says Chris Sporer, Executive Director of the Seafood Producers Association of British Columbia, the largest organization of wild seafood processing companies on Canada's Pacific coast.
"Current tariffs on Canadian fish and seafood products into the European Union can make them uncompetitive. For instance, the levies on smoked salmon, frozen tuna loins and canned tuna range from 22%-24%."
The wild seafood industry on Canada's Pacific coast is comprised of commercial fishing and seafood processing and provides a secure, safe and nutritious food source for Canada and the world. Each year the industry generates approximately $800 million in annual revenues and contributes more in terms of GDP, employment and wages & salaries than either aquaculture or tidal recreational fishing.
"Seafood is the largest food export commodity from British Columbia, at almost $1 billion per year, and the wild seafood industry accounts for almost two thirds of the export value," notes Sporer.
The BC wild seafood industry exports approximately 80% of its production. As an export industry, access to world seafood markets is one of the key things needed for business success. International trade agreements enable the industry to achieve this access.
The EU is the world's largest importing market, more than 2.7 times larger than the United States and Canada's second largest trading partner. The EU is also a large seafood market. The European Seafood Exhibition, which is held in Brussels each year, is the largest seafood trade show in the world.
"The industry exports products to Europe (e.g., Pacific salmon - canned and frozen, Pacific hake). However, while there is virtually no duty on seafood products coming into Canada, tariffs imposed by the EU range up to 24%," notes Sporer. "A comprehensive Canada-Europe Trade Agreement that reduces these tariffs over time will not only help stimulate demand for our products, it will also allow Canadian businesses to realize more money for their products."
At the same time, a Canadian EU trade agreement should also assist in dealing with technical barriers to trade (e.g., health and safety issues), as trade agreements generally provide a more defined and better way to resolve disputes.
The Seafood Producers Association of British Columbia applauds the Government of Canada's efforts to deepen and broaden our country's trade with the EU.
The Seafood Producers Association of British Columbia is the largest organization of seafood processing companies on Canada's Pacific coast. Collectively its members purchase, process and market approximately 75% of the wild salmon, 80% of the herring and 50% of the groundfish caught by commercial fishing vessels off the BC coast. The membership is comprised of very diverse business operations that are involved in almost every major commercial fishery in Pacific Canada.
SOURCE Christopher Sporer Consultants Ltd.