Navigating Trade Challenges

The Canada Pork Council offers an insider perspective on the Canadian pork industry inside and outside its borders.

by Stephen Heckbert, Executive Director, Canadian Pork Council

livestock truck transporting animals
The Canadian Pork Council is the national voice and advocate on behalf of the hog producers in Canada. Photo credit: Ben185/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo.

One thing’s for sure: The world needs more Canadian pork.

Despite the obviousness of that statement, there are many challenges to getting the product where people want it - where there’s consumer demand.

That’s because the Canadian pork industry operates within a dynamic global trade landscape where a plethora of challenges and opportunities overlap.

From the establishment of strategic offices to the impact of international trade agreements and regulatory frameworks, our industry navigates in a varied environment.

These factors collectively shape our approach to sustainability, competitiveness, and global engagement, reflecting our ongoing commitment to fostering a resilient Canadian pork sector on the world stage.

Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office in Manila: A Strategic Move

The establishment of the new Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office in Manila, Philippines, marks a significant step forward in Canada’s trade engagement with key markets in the region. This office represents a strategic investment in enhancing trade relations and promoting Canadian agricultural products, including pork, in the dynamic Indo-Pacific market.

The Indo-Pacific region presents immense potential for Canadian pork exports, given the region’s growing demand for high-quality protein sources.

As the world’s third-largest pork exporter, Canada is well-positioned to meet the region’s needs for safe, sustainable, and traceable pork products.

The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) applauds this initiative and looks forward to leveraging the office’s resources to expand market access and foster mutually beneficial trade partnerships.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership: Driving Trade Integration

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) stands as a cornerstone of Canada’s trade strategy, opening doors to key markets and facilitating trade flows for various sectors, including pork.

The agreement’s provisions on tariff reduction and elimination help to create a more level playing field for Canadian pork producers, enabling increased access to the many lucrative markets across the Asia-Pacific region.

Canada’s participation in the CPTPP reinforces our commitment to global trade integration and economic cooperation. By aligning with like-minded trading partners, we strengthen supply chains, enhance market diversification, and promote fair trade practices.

The CPC continues to advocate for effective implementation and utilization of the CPTPP to maximize benefits for the Canadian pork industry and contribute to sustainable economic growth.

Prop 12: Addressing Regulatory Challenges

Proposition 12, despite its name, is an actual, in-place new California state law imposing non-scientific-based standards on pork imports. Not without controversy in the US, it has raised concerns and regulatory challenges for Canadian pork producers.

We recognize the importance of standards, but Canada has a trade agreement with the United States, not with California, and, as such, the CPC emphasizes the need for science-based regulations that consider industry realities and international trade obligations.

Prop 12’s impact affects Canadian pork exports to the US market, so CPC will continue to engage with stakeholders and regulatory authorities to ensure a balanced approach that upholds animal welfare while preserving market access and competitiveness for Canadian pork producers.

Navigating the Future: Collaboration and Adaptation

In navigating trade challenges, collaboration and adaptation are key principles guiding the Canadian pork industry.

The Canada Pork Council works closely with government agencies, industry partners, and international organizations to address trade barriers, enhance market access, and promote the sustainability of pork production.

As global trade dynamics evolve, Canadian pork producers have remained resilient and innovative, embracing technology, best practices, and market intelligence to meet consumer demands and regulatory requirements. Our commitment to quality, safety, and sustainability positions Canadian pork as a trusted choice in domestic and international markets.

farmer using a tablet in barn
A farmer performing a health check on his newly arrived pigs via a tablet. Photo credit: dusanpetkovic1 - stock.adobe.com.

Looking ahead, the CPC remains committed to advocating for policies and initiatives that support a vibrant and competitive pork industry. Through strategic partnerships, market diversification efforts, and continuous improvement, we are confident in the industry’s ability to thrive amid evolving trade landscapes.

As we reflect on these aspects, it becomes clear that the Canadian pork industry’s resilience and adaptability are essential in navigating the complexities of international trade.

The establishment of strategic offices, like the Indo-Pacific Agriculture and Agri-Food Office in Manila, represents forward-thinking initiatives that enhance our global reach and market access.

Active participation in trade agreements such as the CPTPP underscores our dedication to fostering fair trade practices and maximizing opportunities for Canadian pork producers in key markets.

The Canadian pork industry’s ability to navigate trade challenges and seize opportunities hinges on strategic partnerships, innovation, and a commitment to sustainability. Through ongoing collaboration, adaptation to evolving market dynamics, and advocacy for fair and science-based regulations, we are poised to thrive in the global trade landscape while maintaining our position as a trusted provider of high-quality pork products.

Stephen Heckbert

Stephen Heckbert is the Executive Director of the Canadian Pork Council, bringing over two decades of expertise in strategic communications, social media, public relations, and government relations. With a passion for diversity in communications and a commitment to corporate social responsibility, he continues to shape the landscape of the Canadian pork industry with his leadership.