Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you for inviting me to speak on behalf of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, the voice of Canadian agriculture and agri-food exporters.
CAFTA represents farmers, processors, and exporters from the beef, pork, grains, oilseeds, pulse, soy, malt, and sugar sectors. CAFTA members account for 90% of Canada's $54 billion agriculture and agrifood exports, supporting 940,000 jobs across Canada.
To illustrate the important contribution of our sectors to the Canadian economy, I'll give you some numbers. In terms of GDP, Canadian agriculture and agrifood exporters generate a direct and indirect GDP of $30 billion for agriculture and $65 billion for food manufacturing. In terms of employment, our sectors represent 352,000 direct and indirect jobs in agriculture, along with 588,000 direct and indirect jobs in food manufacturing.
The specific contribution of our sectors is similar to the direct contribution of entire sectors such as universities, financial investment services, and arts and entertainment, and is even much greater than the contribution of the aerospace manufacturing sector.
Competitive access to global markets through free trade agreements is our top priority, and at the top of the list are Europe, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific region. Access for Canadian agriculture and agrifood products is a core benefit for Canada in the CETA agreement. CAFTA has long been a champion of the CETA agreement and of increased trade with Europe. We have attended many negotiating rounds and have met regularly with the negotiators and the government to ensure that the negotiated outcomes would provide real benefits for our exporters.
CAFTA was able to immediately and unequivocally voice its support of the agreement in principle when it was announced in October 2013. We were also pleased by the conclusion of the negotiations earlier this year and were present in Brussels for the signing of the historic deal. CETA offers tremendous potential and secures substantial access to one of the world's few billion-dollar markets, and it does so ahead of our major competitors.
With a population of 500 million people, the EU is the second-largest importer of agrifood products in the world. In 2014 Canada shipped $3.2 billion in agriculture and agrifood products to the EU, led by wheat, soybeans, oilseeds, pulses, canola oil, frozen foods, and maple syrup. This is only about 5% of our total agrifood exports. Really, our exports should be much higher.
CAFTA has expressed support for CETA as the EU market has the potential to result in significant benefits for our exporters. The agreement could drive an additional $600 million in beef, $400 million in pork, $100 million in grains and oilseeds, and $100 million in sugar-containing products, as well as a further $300 million in processed fruits and vegetables. Taken together, this is $1.5 billion in new Canadian agrifood exports to the EU.
This is assuming that negotiated outcomes provide for commercially viable access. Canadian agrifood exports to the EU currently face high tariffs, with an average of 14%. On day one of implementation, tariffs on almost 40% of products will be eliminated immediately. The tariffs are not the only part of the access equation, and for some sectors, non-tariff barriers are as important as tariff reductions.
In CETA, Canada and the EU have committed to working together to advance a number of non-tariff issues, and today, unfortunately, it is clear that commercially viable access that was promised for all exporters may not be fully achieved for some time, and certainly not by the time the agreement is implemented. CAFTA has long stated that in order to achieve meaningful access, CAFTA members needed to have both tariff and non-tariff barriers fully resolved before CETA implementation.
To date, the issues that remain outstanding include the timely approval of biotechnology traits, the timely approval and re-evaluation of crop-input products, and the approval of meat-processing systems. Throughout 2014 and 2016 CAFTA has strongly encouraged the completion of respective legal and political processes related to CETA while simultaneously completing the technical discussions so that the stated benefits can be realized in the form of commercially viable access for our exporters.
We've stated that our support for the implementation of CETA will be based on the extent to which the negotiated outcomes result in commercially viable access. Last August our members met with officials from Global Affairs Canada and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to discuss the value of a CETA implementation plan for Canadian agriculture and agrifood exporters as part of a path forward.
Today, given the slow progress that the EU is making to resolve these issues, CAFTA gives conditional support to the implementation of CETA, with three conditions.
First, CAFTA will support the implementation of CETA if the Government of Canada commits to a well-resourced advocacy strategy and a comprehensive CETA implementation plan for Canadian agricultural and agrifood exporters to achieve real access for all exporters. Such plans will focus on ensuring that the negotiated outcomes result in commercially viable access, including but not limited to the grains and oilseed sectors and the meat sector through the establishment of high-level working groups.
Second, CAFTA asks that the committee today recommend in its report on Bill C-30 that the Government of Canada commit to the CETA implementation plan for Canadian agricultural and agrifood exporters to ensure that negotiated outcomes result in viable access for our exporters. It must be noted that this implementation plan will need to remain in effect until such time as the market access outcomes contained in the agreement become commercially viable for all of our exporters.
Third, CAFTA asks that the Government of Canada exert every effort to resolve as many of the outstanding technical barriers as possible during the interim period between now and the date the agreement is implemented.
In closing, more work needs to be done. Due to the strong potential and CAFTA's history of working collaboratively with government, CAFTA supports the passage of Bill C-30 and the implementation of CETA with the three conditions outlined above. CAFTA will be pleased to report to the committee on a regular basis on the progress achieved for Canadian agricultural and agrifood exporters as CETA gets implemented.