Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to join in this important debate on the Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement, or CETA. As someone who formerly chaired the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, I want to compliment the members of the committee for the work they have done in putting together this report and allowing us this opportunity for debate. I want to thank the parliamentary secretary for his amendment to have the committee revisit this report and make sure that everything has been properly considered before the signing of the final agreement.
As many in the House know, I am a cattle producer and someone who still feels very passionate about agriculture. Being from a riding that has a diversified agriculture background with grain, oilseed, and supply-managed farms, as well as a very large and vibrant ranching community, I can say that this agreement is well endorsed and supported by the producers in my riding. They are just ecstatic about the opportunity to expand their markets.
I have listened carefully to the debate and I am a little concerned that some members have suggested that maybe we do not need this agreement or that the markets are not there. As someone who lived through the BSE crisis, I and my friends and even my family had to endure some significantly difficult years. We saw the result of not being able to market our products around the world. We saw what happened to the prices of livestock in this country as markets all over the world shut their doors. Every effort that is made to open up those doors and to diversify market share for our agriculture producers is something that every farmer across this country supports. We cannot have all our eggs in one basket.
When I ran for election back in 2004 in the heat of the BSE crisis, the one thing that farmers were telling me—not just in my riding but right across the country, because of my former involvement with the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association and the Canadian Cattlemen's Association—was that we have to diversify our markets and not be so dependent on the United States. The United States is next door and is easy to access, but at the same time we need opportunities to market. Therefore, moving to more free trade agreements, as our government has done, is something that is well regarded and very much appreciated by farmers across Canada.
Our agricultural goods and food exports have continued to grow over the past five years and have increased by 30%. Farmers are capitalizing on those opportunities and farmers are the ones benefiting from that expanded market. In the last year, we broke the $50 billion mark in the export threshold for the first time in our nation's history. That is huge. It is providing more dollars into the farming economy, it is creating jobs, it is creating prosperity, and it is something that continues to drive our overall economy and GDP as a country.
Today Canada is the world's largest agricultural trader on a per capita basis, according to Farm Credit Canada. What has led to this remarkable success? It is because this government and our Prime Minister believe in free trade and in having as many countries as we can to do business with. It is because of the hard work that we have seen from our trade minister and our agriculture minister as they continue to travel around the world, knocking on doors and creating sales opportunities for producers and manufacturers from coast to coast to coast. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has already led over 40 trade missions with industry, and each one has resulted in increased opportunities for our industry and benefited the economy. In fact, the minister just returned from his 11th mission to China, where he accompanied the Prime Minister to build on our trade relationship there and to continue to grow that lucrative market.
Agriculture, and the trade component of it, is not just about shipping cows and shipping bushels of wheat and canola. It is about technology now. It is about added value. It is about complete integrated systems where supply chains are met from one end to the other, and providing products that consumers want.
The opposition members say that we will be unable to move our beef into Europe because it has phytosanitary restrictions such as non-hormone beef. Guess what? If the market is there, our producers will raise those types of animals, and it is easy to do and it can happen very quickly. Even though there might be some production losses, if the dollars are more lucrative and there are more dollars in their pocket at the end of the day, they will not hesitate to jump on that opportunity.
As a case in point, my brother and my dad do a bit of organic farming. On the lands that they have certified for organic production, they do not get the same production that they get off the conventional part of the farm. They do not have the same quality of crops, in some cases, that they would under conventional farming. However, they do it because there is a market for it and it is lucrative. That is what motivates producers to make changes in production practices to meet the market. That is what this is about: creating more of those opportunities.
When the Prime Minister, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister of International Trade were in China, they saw some great deals being signed. One was with the canola industry in China, using more canola oil from Canada, at $1 billion. That is significant. It is $1 billion in just one country with that trade deal. Those are the types of things we are trying to accomplish with the CETA deal.
We are seeing all sorts of commodities benefiting from these increased opportunities in China. On the China trip there was a cherry deal signed worth over $20 million. There were $400 million in new market access gains in the minister's trip back in June, plus they signed $280 million worth of agriculture contracts. When we add it all up, over the past five years, just in China—never mind what we are trying to do in Europe—that has increased our sales by $5.6 billion in Canada. We are getting beef access into the China market, increasing beef sales back into Taiwan, which is the very last market to open up to us after the BSE crisis.
These are the things that really help promote agriculture, that provide the opportunity for that intergenerational transfer of farms from father and mother to sons and daughters. If we do not have dollars in our pockets, if we do not have the opportunity to make money, those transfers do not happen to the next generation.
When we took government, one thing we did was establish Canada's Market Access Secretariat just to concentrate on developing trade opportunities. That has brought industry together with federal government and the provinces, and it has built bridges with our trading partners. This type of coordinated approach allows us to identify and resolve trade irritants aggressively and strategically. It allows us, when we are putting together our trade agreements, to talk about what are the best practices in our experience with other trade agreements and to implement that so we have proper dispute resolution systems. Also, it allows us to build upon our competitiveness and where we have strength within the trade sectors.
As a result, we have identified target markets, which accounted for 85% of our total exports last year. When we take in the conclusion of CETA, add in the South Korean deal and add in Honduras, we realize that all of a sudden we have preferential market access in Europe, Asia and across the Americas. That is 38 countries that we now have trade agreements with, and when we add in the increase and continue to grow those, we will have access to over 44% of the world's agriculture and agri-food markets. That trade potential more than doubles when we take into account countries with which we are still negotiating. We will peak at 63% market access and we will have almost two-thirds of the world's agriculture import market.
We have trade agreements with more than half of the entire global marketplace, and that, just within the European context, is worth more than $138 billion.