Honduras accepts Canadian pork, beef, signs FTA

Honduras has granted full market access to Canada’s pork and beef as the two countries move to sign a new free trade pact.

Canada’s International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Honduras’ Industry and Commerce Minister Jose Adonis Lavaire signed the Canada-Honduras Free Trade Agreement in Ottawa on Tuesday.

Separate from the trade pact, Honduras has announced its approvals for Canada’s pork and beef inspection and certification systems, which in turn allow exports to resume from Canada’s federally-registered meat packing establishments, effective immediately.

The restored market access for Canadian meat is expected to have a combined market value of $5 million to $7 million annually in the trade pact’s first full year, mostly for pork.

The next step for the trade pact, meanwhile, is its debate in both Canada’s Parliament and the Honduran Congress. Following approvals there, the agreement can come into force.

Once the trade pact is fully implemented, over 98 per cent of tariff lines will be duty-free, the government said.

Other key Canadian sectors to benefit immediately from better market access are expected to include potato products, vegetable oils and grain products and “a range of processed food products.”

“This free trade agreement with Honduras opens another valuable field of opportunities for Canadian farmers, especially those producing pork and beef,” Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said in Tuesday’s release.

“The Canadian pork industry is very dependent on export market sales as more than 60 per cent of its production is exported outside of Canada and our industry needs to have an improved access to all possible markets to remain competitive,” Jacques Pomerlau, president of Canada Pork International, said in a separate release.

To that end, “we are extremely fortunate to have excellent animal health status, a good supply of high-quality feed grains, a very low animal population density and a strong reputation all over the world as a supplier of safe high-quality pork,” Jean-Guy Vincent, chairman of the Canadian Pork Council, added Tuesday.

Canada and Honduras have shown 46 per cent growth in merchandise trade between the two countries since 2007, the government noted. Canada’s exports of goods to Honduras in 2012 reached $38.6 million, of which $3.3 million were in agricultural goods.

Fast and Canada’s Labour Minister Kellie Leitch also signed parallel agreements with Honduras Tuesday on labour co-operation and environmental co-operation. — AGCanada.com Network

Related story:
Talks wrap up on free trade deal with Honduras, Aug. 12, 2011

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