Good morning, Mr. Chair, and thank you, committee members, for the opportunity to come today to speak to you.
I'll say a little bit about the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association. We're a not-for-profit trade association of genetic exporters. Genetic exporters in this context means live dairy cattle, frozen semen and embryos, and, in the poultry industry, day-old chicks and hatching eggs. It also includes small ruminants, sheep and goats, live ones, semen, and embryos.
Our exports for dairy alone with the frozen semen, live cattle, and embryos are about $150 million a year worldwide, poultry is about $100 million a year worldwide, and then small ruminants are at $100,000.
The Mercosur region is a fairly significant region for our membership. Brazil is probably one of our fourth largest markets, so total trade in dairy genetics from Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay would be about $11 million. The associate members would be another $1.5 million. We've been in this region for a long time, and if anybody knows about the trade in animal genetics, it's very much reliant on animal health discussions, protocols, and negotiations to make this trade happen, because you're dealing in live tissue.
One of the concerns that we have is that we've noticed in the past that individual countries will use either the Mercosur rules or those of their own country, depending on what is more favourable. We see that a lot, and they won't even reply. We get a lot of market access issues around that kind of scenario.
We also have issues with many of these countries having unreasonable demands and a very loose interpretation of the trade guidelines that deal in these animal products. Most of that is stipulated by the OIE, the World Organisation for Animal Health, which has a list of trade principles that most countries follow and interpret rather correctly. Other countries use that same list as a book of trade barriers and just come up with any reason not to trade.
We also see a bit of a membership concern with Mercosur. Venezuela is currently suspended. In the past, they suspended Paraguay. I don't know how you get into trade negotiations when members are in it, members are not in it, and all that stuff happens. Plus, they often utilize bilaterals amongst their own countries beyond their own trading bloc.
I want to comment on FTAs in general and what we see from the livestock genetics part of things. While we're very supportive of trade agreements and bilateral agreements around the world to move Canada more to the forefront, we also have some concerns that we don't see being addressed. That's everything from expedited trade dispute settlement mechanisms.... How do we make sure that we can resolve trade issues? We need committed animal health working groups to solve trade issues and SPS issues.
We often have the most difficulty obtaining market access with some of the countries we have FTAs with. Believe it or not, it's almost possible. We often question.... We get into these FTAs, but does it actually trickle down to more market access for us?
Then, finally, I have a statement. Canada does not have adequate resources at the CFIA in order to put in some of these trade agreements, to negotiate the certificates, or to develop the certificates for new trade. Now a lot of this has been downloaded to industry from these countries. They want to come to Canada to do technical tours and things like that. We fund a lot of that, or co-fund with the government, but at the end of the day, we do not have the people within the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to develop these trade protocols and certificates. If we can't maintain the trade we do have, it's really crazy when we get further along the line and open up new markets, shake hands, and do the photo shoot, but then there's no one left at home to put the package together and make it work.
Those are my concerns. Thank you for your time.