The BC Food Processors Association (BCFPA) has stated that while pleased the 12 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have successfully concluded negotiations on a historic free trade agreement, they remain cautiously optimistic until more details of the Agreement and its implications for food and beverage manufacturers are understood. Full details of the Agreement are yet to be released to the public.
“While we feel that the TPP could help to fuel BC’s Food, Beverage and Natural Health Products Processing sectors by reducing regulatory barriers on exports, we are reserving judgement on the overall benefit to our industry until more details become clear,” said James Donaldson, CEO of the BCFPA.
“The market reality is that Canada is currently running a $6.8 Billion trade deficit on processed foods. Specific to B.C., this province imports more than twice as many food products as it exports; a deficit that has widened significantly since 2010,” says Donaldson. “In addition, Canada delivers among the highest-quality and safest foods in the global market. This is partly due to Canada’s strict regulatory and labelling environment, which translates to a higher cost of goods. This can negatively impact our competitiveness in the global export market vs. lower cost countries. Government and industry must work collaboratively to find solutions to address this,” he added.
“Eliminating trade barriers and creating a level playing field for exporting is only one component for a sustainable food industry in Canada and BC,” says Rick Gagner, Chair of the BCFPA. “Some of the responsibility will rest with the sector to embrace a new way of working, collaborating and innovating. Industry leadership is a must. The BCFPA will continue its mandate to position the industry to compete and grow locally and globally; and to serve as the industry’s advocate,” said Gagner.