Thank you for having me.
I'm pleased to be here today on behalf of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, CAFTA, to speak on the subject of a potential agreement between Canada and the Pacific Alliance.
CAFTA, as you know, is the voice of Canadian agrifood exporters, representing the 90% of farmers who depend on trade, and ranchers, producers, processors, and agrifood exporters who want to grow the economy through better and competitive access to international markets. This includes the beef, pork, meat, grains, cereals, pulses, soybeans, canola, as well as the sugar, malt, and processed food industries. Together our members account for 90% of Canada's agrifood exports, which in 2016 exceeded $55 billion and supported over a million jobs across rural and urban communities in Canada.
A significant portion of these jobs and sales would not exist without competitive access to world markets. Canada is an enthusiastic supporter of negotiating new trade agreements that create job opportunities and growth opportunities for our exporters. Trade is one of our main drivers as 60% of the value of the sector is generated through exports. Over half of everything we produce is exported. That's half of our beef, 65% of our soybeans, 70% of our pork, 75% of our wheat, 90% of our canola, and 95% of our pulses, as well as 40% of our processed food products. Over the last 10 years in Canada, Canadian agrifood exports have grown by more than 100% from $27 billion to $61 billion.
This is why Canada's agrifood sector has been highlighted for its significant contributions to the Canadian economy in the advisory council on economic growth as a key sector for growth due in part to the sector's focus on exports. This was further represented by the ambitious goal to grow Canada's agrifood exports to $75 billion annually by 2025. Our agrifood exporters generate a GDP of $95 billion for agriculture and food manufacturing, and food and beverage manufacturing alone is the largest manufacturing employer in Canada, 60% of which is concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, with close to a quarter of a million jobs, more than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined.
Today our priorities are twofold. First, it's paramount that Canada ratifies this CPTPP quickly, and we urge the government to implement it without delay. We've been a strong supporter of the deal and applauded the fantastic news that Canada concluded the talks about 10 days ago in Tokyo.
The CPTPP will not only provide the sector with unprecedented access to the high-value Japanese market and rapidly growing Asian markets like Vietnam and Malaysia, but it will also provide Canada with a competitive advantage over the U.S., since that country is not part of the agreement. We understand that the CPTPP will enter into force after at least six members ratify it and we understand also that it's very likely that seven members will ratify and implement the agreement before the end of the summer, if not sooner.
Canada may lose the first mover advantage if it's not in the first tranche of countries ratifying the deal, so the best chance to implement the agreement quickly is to ratify it quickly.
Second, due to the importance of NAFTA to Canadian agricultural trade, CAFTA urges the government to continue working to reach a modernized agreement that will strengthen the access and competitiveness of the nation's farm and food products. In short, it's important to maintain what's currently working very well, and modernize the deal where possible. Specifically, the renegotiations should not allow the introduction of new tariffs or non-tariff barriers, or any new provisions that could be used to limit trade. In our submission, CAFTA has identified several areas for improvements, where NAFTA could enable further growth for specific products such as canola, grains, meats, sugar, sugar-containing products among others, and in areas such as greater regulatory co-operation and dispute settlement mechanisms.
Specifically, on the Pacific Alliance, in 2016 Canada exported $2.7 billion in agriculture and agrifood products to the four Pacific Alliance members: Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. About two-thirds of that total was accounted for by Mexico, also a NAFTA partner. In addition, as you know, Canada has free trade agreements with some of the Pacific Alliance members: Chile, Colombia, and Peru. Despite bilateral FTAs existing between Canada and some of the Pacific Alliance members, there are opportunities to improve upon the existing agreements and boost agriculture and agrifood exports.
While CAFTA supports an agreement with Canada and the Pacific Alliance in principle, it is essential that negotiations with this alliance do not compromise Canada's ability to complete other agreements such as NAFTA and our ability to ratify other agreements such as the TPP with our members since we view these as significantly higher priorities.
If this condition can be met, CAFTA sees multiple potential benefits with the Pacific Alliance, the first being to eliminate remaining tariffs. You've just heard from the Canola Council, canola being an example for getting better access into Colombia. I believe you heard, over the last few days, about pork as well. Deepening the commitments in the existing free trade agreements with Pacific Alliance members to achieve science-based outcomes in regulatory measures to protect human, plant, and animal health and safety would be another area. We also see an opportunity to pursue common frameworks for approval of animal and plant health inputs and new breeding techniques. A free trade agreement with the Pacific Alliance should also include common low-level presence and maximum residue limit standards and policies.
Overall, an agreement with the Pacific Alliance region would also continue Canada's historically beneficial participation in plurilateral negotiations from which results can exceed those available from attempting to complete bilateral agreements as well as establishing a platform for expansion to other nations.
This is one of the reasons for CAFTA's staunch support for Canada's participation in the CPTPP.