I will make most of my presentation in French. I may speak English at times, but I will try to make my presentation in French.
First of all, I want to thank you for the invitation to today's committee meeting. The opening and closing of borders are very significant issues for Canadian producers. You are aware of the situation for certain types of operations, pork production in particular. We are currently seeing border closures for the moment. These are issues that we follow very closely.
We were asked to participate in this meeting on Monday, late in the afternoon. You will understand that we do not have a printed document to distribute to everyone today. I will speak using my notes on the Canada/Peru Free Trade Agreement, an issue that we have been following over the last few months.
The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is the biggest producer organization in Canada: it represents more than 200,000 Canadian farmers. The vast majority of Canadian producers are members of a provincial association and a product association. We consulted with each of these associations in order to prepare our document and the comments that we will make today. The impacts of the Canada/Peru Free Trade Agreement vary from one product to another. It is more advantageous for certain producers, whereas for others, it represents almost the status quo. And then there are other groups that do not have much interest in signing an agreement with Peru.
First of all, I would like to say that this agreement should be implemented as quickly as possible. It is not a huge achievement with regard to the objectives of agricultural producers, but some improvements are worth implementing.
We are negotiating this agreement more or less at the same time as the United States, or a bit later. We believe, however, that we must negotiate parity with the United States in future negotiations or free trade agreements and contracts with countries like Peru. Unfortunately, in the case of Peru, Canada is far from achieving the same thing as the United States. We recognize that the Peruvian market is probably more significant for the United States than it is for Canada, but all the same, parity would have been a very desirable goal.
In the case of Peru, the United States will have shorter tariff elimination periods, and in some cases, tariff-free access, and in others higher quotas. Even if Canada negotiated something better than our current conditions, because the Americans negotiated tariff reductions and completely free access before us, the market or business will favour American products over ours. This is something we must bear in mind.
As a result, it is important to ensure when we are negotiating contracts with countries like Peru that we obtain similar access to that obtained by other countries, particularly our American neighbours with whom we already do a lot of business.
The agreement is a success for some sectors while for others, it does not change much. The sectors that will benefit the most from this agreement are no doubt the producers of Canadian wheat, durum, barley and pulse crops, which is to say all of the beans and oilseeds. Our Canadian producers already had a presence in this market. A shorter elimination period and tariff-free access in this sector will certainly improve and facilitate trade for grain producers.
Some tariff lines will have a shorter elimination period for Canada than for the U.S. There are not many, but there are a few for which this is the case, for example garlic, frozen green beans and frozen spinach. The tariff elimination period is shorter for Canada than it is for the Americans for these products. These are not very significant volumes, but we must take advantage of this.
For other sectors, this agreement is more problematic or has limited possibilities. For example, the tariffs will almost all be eliminated immediately on U.S. beef, whereas only a part of tariffs on Canadian beef will be eliminated. This will result in fiercer competition with the United States.
In the near term, the United States will get immediate access for all Prime and Choice beef cuts, plus a quota starting at 800 tonnes per year and increasing to 1,433 tonnes by year 11 of the agreement.
As concerns Canadian products, these 800 tonnes, increasing to 1,433 tonnes, allocated to the United States, are not particularly large quantities. In Canada, over the same period, producers will also obtain duty-free access for beef cuts meeting the Peru "fine" cut standard, which corresponds to Canadian Prime and AAA cuts, plus a quota for boneless beef which will start at 100 tonnes and increase to 122 tonnes in year 5 of the agreement. So you can see that Canada's quota is even smaller.
A great deal of fresh, chilled and frozen beef offal is traded between Canada and Peru. In this sector, the tariffs will be eliminated simultaneously for both Canada and the United States, but it should be noted that the quota or volume exported by the United States is twice as large as Canada's. So once again, the agreement will favour the U.S. market.
In the long term, both Canada and the United States will achieve duty-free access for pork carcasses and cuts. However, in the short and medium term, the agreement is definitely more favourable for the Americans and could seriously affect the products from Canada because there again, the tariffs on U.S. pork will be eliminated by the beginning of the 5th year, whereas for Canada they will not be eliminated until the 17th year. This is an extremely large gap in an area where Canada is very present on export markets. One of our main competitors on the global market, the United States, will have a significant advantage.
Still in the pork sector, the quota for cuts in the offal category, including pig fat and bellies, will start at 325 tonnes per year and increase to 504 tonnes in year 10. Once again, these are not large quantities. However, the Canadian Pork Council has told us that this agreement must be supported, since a deal with slightly increasing quotas is better than no deal at all with a risk of retaliation. They agree with these measures.
Canada is extremely present on the potato market as well. Duty-free access strongly favours the United States over Canada, particularly during the first nine years. Tariffs on fresh and chilled potatoes, other than seed, will be eliminated immediately for the United States. As for tariffs on Canadian potatoes, they are subject to a gradual reduction and will be eliminated as of year 10. There again, our small Peruvian market may be replaced by American products, which will be more competitive because they will have duty-free access.
In the sector of frozen potatoes, Canada is fairly active—