Evidence of meeting #33 for International Trade in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was japan.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Ian Burney  Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Denis Landreville  Lead Negotiator, Regional Agreements, Trade Negotiations Division, Trade Agreements and Negotiations Directorate, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food
  • Shenjie Chen  Head, Research Projects Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Phil Calvert  Director General, North Asia Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

I would appreciate that, and so would seafood producers in Atlantic Canada. Beyond that, keep up the good work.

I know Mr. Holder has questions.

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Thank you, Chair.

I thank our guests for being here today.

I want to reinforce Mr. Keddy's point about the lobster. I would ask you to take it back as a critical part of our Atlantic economy, not just because I have a Cape Breton mother, but I would tell you it's critical that this be done for the sake of the industry. I appreciate the serious attention you're giving to that.

I'd like to move over to the auto side. I'm from London, Ontario, Canada's tenth-largest city. We've been impacted very directly by the auto manufacturing. I was pleased that you thought there would be very minimal impact on the auto sector. I was hoping it would go the other way, though, frankly. I was hoping to hear that there might be some potential for growth there.

Mr. Burney, you mentioned that the CAW had expressed concerns, that they were one of two that put in some views to the contrary. Are you in a position to share some of what their concerns are? I'm not aware that they have supported any free trade agreement in the history of negotiating free trade agreements, and frankly they're a very loud force in southwestern Ontario and in my city in particular. Can I ask you what concerns they expressed?

11:20 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Ian Burney

Well, the concerns that have been expressed.... And you're right: to my knowledge, the CAW has opposed all trade initiatives the government has taken. It was expressed as a concern that trade liberalization with Japan would lead to job losses. That's why the government felt that it was important, in light of those concerns, to ensure that we had the best analytical capacity put on those questions. They have arisen in the context of our negotiations with Korea. They have arisen in the context of our negotiations with the Europeans and will be an issue vis-à-vis Japan. But that's why the analysis I pointed to was so important, which shows that the impact would be as minimal as I've indicated, less than 0.3%.

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Mr. Burney, what I thought I heard you say was that was in relation to Japan and Korea and…. Help me.

11:20 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

And the EU. Specifically, on Japan, have you isolated that, and can you make a comment on the impact specifically to Japan?

11:20 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Ian Burney

I should be clear. The study looked at all three, but the numbers I presented were for the impact only of Japan. But the numbers in the study exist for Korea, for Japan, or for the EU, and for all three together. Under any scenario, the impact is well under 1% of production in Canada.

The reason is that the vast majority of cars produced in Canada are sold in the United States, and so would not be impacted by a trade agreement between Canada and anybody else. As well, the Canadian market is already saturated with imports; four out of five cars sold in Canada are imported. So it's likely that if more cars are imported through a free trade agreement, they're going to displace other sources of imports and not Canadian manufacturing.

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

With our beef producers here today, could you just explain to us what the current relationship is with exporting beef in whatever fashion we do? What improvements are you looking to make with our negotiations with Japan?

11:20 a.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Ian Burney

I think the biggest issue we've had with Japan relates to measures put in place in the wake of BSE. Right now, we have access to beef from cattle under 21 months. We've been seeking an expansion of that for quite some time, and we're pleased that the issue now is before the Japan Food Safety Commission. It operates at arm’s length from the Japanese government. There isn't a specific timetable attached to that, but we remain hopeful.

Denis may have further comments he could add to this, that we'll be able to achieve an increase in our access to that market through that process and in parallel seek improved market access through the FTA negotiations.

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

On the assumption that the Japanese Food Safety Commission does what it does independent of your negotiations, are there any other areas...?

I'm just going to stay specifically with beef. Perhaps Mr. Landreville might make a comment on any enhancements to Canada's position vis-à-vis exports. It appears what the cattlemen are telling you.

May 1st, 2012 / 11:25 a.m.

Denis Landreville Lead Negotiator, Regional Agreements, Trade Negotiations Division, Trade Agreements and Negotiations Directorate, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food

I think Mr. Burney touched on the SPS and BSE process, and I think that's accurate. We're collaborating and working with authorities on the Japanese side, to provide the information they need to advance that issue.

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

What's your expectation? I'm interrupting. I apologize.

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Merrifield

Just very quickly.

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

What's your expectation of a resolution? Sometimes in politics we're accused that after all is said and done, there's a lot more said than done. At what point do we raise an expectation, timeframe-wise? I appreciate that in negotiations it's easy to say that. Do you have a sense of timing or of expectation?

11:25 a.m.

Lead Negotiator, Regional Agreements, Trade Negotiations Division, Trade Agreements and Negotiations Directorate, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food