Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
My name is Jacques Pomerleau. I'm the president of Canada Pork International. For those who do not know us, CPI, as we are also known, is the export market development agency of the Canadian pork industry. We were established in 1991 as a joint initiative of the Canadian Pork Council and the Canadian Meat Council.
Our organization truly represents the industry when it comes to export market development. We deal primarily with market access issues, the promotion of Canadian pork abroad, providing market intelligence, as well as working on other significant issues related to export.
With regard to Canadian pork exports to Japan, in 2011 Canada remained the world's third-largest pork exporter behind the United States and the European Union. The industry established a new record, with total pork exports amounting to 1.15 million tonnes, worth $3.2 billion. Canadian pork has been shipped to more than 140 countries worldwide in the last four years, so we are truly a key player when it comes to the world pork trade. We hold nearly 20% of the total world pork trade. We are a significant player.
More than 50% of total Canadian pork production is exported, and if you add the live animals exported to the U.S., it's more than 65% of total pork production that is exported. It is worth noting that Canadian pork exports to the U.S. now represent less than 30% of the country's total exports, while it was more than 75% twenty years ago.
The Japanese market is extremely important for all Canadian pork industry stakeholders, with sales in 2011 of 220,000 tonnes, roughly valued at almost $900 million. This represents approximately 20% of our total Canadian exports by volume, but more importantly it's almost 28% in value.
Japan is currently Canada's second-largest market, not far behind the U.S. In 2008 and 2009 Japan was our top export market in value, ahead of the U.S. What happened is not that our sales to Japan went down; it's that our sales to the U.S. increased. That explains why Japan is now in second place. For several provinces—namely Alberta, B.C., and Manitoba—Japan is their top export market for pork and pork products. Quebec and Saskatchewan are a very close second. So it's a key market.
Japan is our most lucrative market. Canadian chilled pork, a vacuum-packed fresh pork with a long shelf life, now represents 25% of our total exports to Japan. This is a value-added product.
For the first three months of this year Japanese import statistics showed that our total exports to that country grew by 2% when compared to the same date last year, in spite of a slight decrease of our frozen pork shipments. Our chilled pork exports to Japan grew by more than 12% during that period, which explains the overall growth of our exports to Japan. It is a bigger increase than what the Americans experienced during the same period.
It is worthy to note that Canadian chilled pork is now found in more than 25% of all retail outlets that sell pork in Japan, which is an achievement we're quite proud of. This result clearly demonstrates that our long-term strategy to focus on chilled pork is having some success.
Chilled pork was identified as being the product with the best growth potential in Japan, for several reasons. Number one is that the population is aging. The average age of the pork producer in Japan is closer to 70 than 65. Very small farms and also the impact of the Tsunami are other reasons.
It seems that the consumption is increasing again, which is quite a surprise to us, as we were counting on a stable consumption.
The four-year financial support provided to us by the federal government through the international pork marketing fund was key, as it provided us with the ability to open and staff a marketing office in Japan. It was also helpful in developing the right promotional material—you cannot use the same material you are using in Canada or in China—and also to expand our marketing activities outside of Tokyo. That's where the growth is coming from as far as we're concerned; it's coming from the regions outside of Tokyo.
We will seize the opportunity here to request that the government renew that fund for five years, which will end at the end of March 2013.
Third-party performance evaluation demonstrated that more than 10% of total Canadian pork exports could be directly attributed to activities funded by this fund. So if you take 10% of $3.2 billion, in my books it looks like $300 million of increased exports due to the fund. By the way, that fund is $17 million in total for four years.
In light of what I said earlier, you can see why Canada Pork International and its members are very pleased that Canada and Japan have decided to enter into negotiations aimed at concluding an EPA. Even if Canadian pork already enjoys an excellent reputation in Japan, we see this as an unique opportunity to gain an additional competitive advantage over our major competitors, especially the U.S., in the most sought-after market in the world.
These negotiations would be very different from any we have ever been involved in, due to the unique nature of the Japanese pork import regime. It is a duty differential system articulated around a minimum import price. It is encouraging to know that the Canadian negotiating team is very experienced and fully understands what this implies.
We've already had some preliminary discussions on this issue, but what remains is that CPI will have to undertake intensive consultations, both in Canada and in Japan, to identify all possible options and to develop with our negotiators a realistic negotiating position, hopefully by the end of this summer. It will not be a surprise if pork is one of the very last items to be dealt with during the negotiations. As a matter of fact, we've been forewarned that it's likely to be the last one.
In regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, because it's part of these discussions here, I just want to say that Canada Pork International fully endorses the position outlined—I was expecting CAFTA to be speaking earlier—by CAFTA, of which CPI is a member, but I can expand on that if need be.
Thank you very much.