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 negotiations.

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

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Do you mean it's complementary in aggregate?

11:10 a.m.

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

Ian Burney

In aggregate, absolutely.

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

What I want to drill into, Mr. Burney, is manufactured goods. I think the thesis I am putting to you is that Canada is exporting a lot of raw resources and primary goods, and we're importing a lot of manufactured items. Is there a trade deficit or imbalance in that respect?

11:10 a.m.

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

Ian Burney

I think the statistics are pretty clear that we import more manufactured goods from Japan than we export. But I'm not sure that I would accept the thesis that it's all raw materials and low-value products. There are a lot of high-value products within the resource sectors that are going to Japan, and the percentage of our exports to Japan that are in high-valued manufactured and processed goods is actually growing as well. It's entirely possible that trend would be accelerated in the context of free trade.

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Okay.

I know we're lucky enough to have some beef producers in the room, so I want to turn to agriculture briefly. Agriculture and agrifood producers in Canada are significant exporters to Japan now. We're led to understand that Japan has historic protectionist policies with respect to its agriculture sectors. So I'm wondering what Canada's approach to achieving better access to Japan's market in the agricultural sector consists of, both in relation to tariff and non-tariff barriers. Can you give us some information on that?

11:15 a.m.

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

Ian Burney

Well, I'll start and perhaps Denis can add to this.

There's no question that, from a Canadian standpoint, seeking better access in agriculture, as well as fish and forestry products, will be a high priority for us. It constitutes nearly half of our exports to Japan now, and those are the areas where the levels of protection in Japan are relatively highest. So that would be very much what we will be going to the table to pursue.

You're quite right that the issues are not confined to tariffs. So in addition to seeking tariff elimination, we would be looking at a range of non-tariff measures as well: everything from SPS and TBT issues to regulatory barriers and other mechanisms that impede the flow of agricultural products into the Japanese market.

So we would be coming to the table from the standpoint that everything is on the table for discussion, but certainly we don't underestimate the challenges in that regard, because these are very sensitive areas in Japan.

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

On Canada's supply management system, we met last week with the egg producers, and I think I can say that all parties have been quite strong in our support for Canada's supply management system. Can we go into these negotiations confident that Canada would not be negotiating away our supply management system in the agricultural sector?

11:15 a.m.

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

Ian Burney

I think you can be confident that we would be not negotiating away our supply management system. I think I could also add that during all of the exploratory discussions we've had with Japan, we've been given no reason to believe that represents an offensive interest for them.

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Okay.

Am I out of time?

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Merrifield

You could have one more very quick one, maybe, if it's very quick.

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

You said the CAW put in a submission. Have projections been done regarding the impact this deal would have on the automotive sector in Canada and specifically on automotive jobs in our country?

11:15 a.m.

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

Ian Burney

Yes, projections have been done. In fact, back in 2006-2007 we commissioned a study on the possible impact of free trade with Korea, Japan, and the EU in the automotive sector. That study, which is now a bit dated, has just been updated. It's undergoing final translation and will likely be on our website soon.

The new study, like the old one, projects a very minimal impact on the Canadian automotive sector. Specifically, it projects a possible impact on Canadian production of less than 0.3%, a decrease of 0.27%.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Merrifield

Thank you very much.

Mr. Keddy.

May 1st, 2012 / 11:15 a.m.

Conservative

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

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Welcome to our witnesses. I will be splitting my time with Mr. Holder. I know all my colleagues here have a number of questions they want to get on the record, so I'll try to be brief in my quick submission.

This is a great agreement, one on which the door of opportunity has opened, and we absolutely need to take advantage of it. I'm very pleased to hear we're moving expeditiously and you'll be in Japan on May 8.

Mr. Burney, there is one little irritant that's been there for a while. I think I've spoken to you and a number of your colleagues about it, and that is the paralytic shellfish poisoning regulations Japan has on Canadian lobster. We have an opportunity here to re-address that.

Quite frankly, what has happened is that our lobster is exported into the United States. The United States relabels it as American lobster and ships it in without any PSP restrictions.

This is a multi-million-dollar industry. We used to have 50-some exporters that sent lobsters to Japan; we now have two. Rhode Island, which is a very small state that wouldn't produce more than a couple of hundred two-and-a-half to three-pound lobsters—I might be exaggerating a little in that comment, but not a lot of lobsters of the size you want to ship to Japan—has increased its production by a thousandfold. That's all Canadian lobster that's being relabelled.

So if you could re-address that and have a chance to put that back on the table, I think it's extremely opportune.

11:20 a.m.

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

Ian Burney

Thank you very much for that.

I am not aware of the specifics of that issue. I will certainly brief myself on it, and you can be confident that we'll be carrying that into the discussions.