December 4, 2012
Australian pork producers are calling for an end to subsidised Canadian pork imports “We’ve already seen almost 20,000 tonnes of subsidised Canadian pork hit our supermarket shelves this year,” VFF Pig Group President John Bourke said. “Unlike Canadian farmers we don’t get any subsidies, yet we’re expected to accept the open entry of these imports.” In 2011 Canadian pork producers received $113 million in support payments, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that Canadian pork is Australia’s third highest pork import, behind the US and Denmark. The issue of Canadian subsidised pork imports is one of the key issues being discussed at international talks in Auckland this week between members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). “It’s come to a head following Canada joining the TPP in June,” Mr Bourke said. “If they want to be part of the free-trade agreement they need to remove this subsidy, which is undermining Australian producers’ returns.” The TPP is a free-trade agreement established in 2005 between 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia and the US. “Canada’s position goes against the values on which the TPP was formed – removing barriers to trade and investment,” Mr Bourke said. “Subsidies deliver Canadian pork producers an unfair competitive advantage that needs to be changed.” The pork industry is worth $2 billion a year to the Australian economy, employing directly and indirectly more than 25,000 people. There are 500 registered active pig producers in Australia, with 22 per cent of the national pig herd in Victoria.