OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Late last week, Jurgen Preugschas, chair of the Canadian Pork Council, and board member Stephen Moffett appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food as witnesses to the committee's study on the crisis in the Canadian hog sector.

Mr. Preugschas identified the various shocks that have affected the competitiveness of the industry over the past three years, but he still remains optimistic about the long-term potential for the Canadian hog sector.

"Opening up markets is critical for the Canadian hog industry's recovery and we continue to be a strong supporter of Canada entering into comprehensive free-trade agreement with the E.U. and finalizing bilateral free-trade agreements with Columbia and South Korea," said Mr. Preugschas.

Increasing commercial interest in Europe for Canadian pork is encouraging to the Canadian Pork Council. Canada Pork International has relayed record interest from pork buyers at ANUGA, the world's largest food-trade show, which was held last month in Koln, Germany. A subsequent fact-finding mission in Italy confirmed that market opportunities exist for a substantially wider variety, as well as larger volume, of Canadian pork products, C.P.P. relayed.

South Korea, Canada's fourth-largest market for pork exports, experienced shipments for the first half of this year exceeding C$70 million (US$66 million). In addition to being a growing market for pork, in general, South Korea is increasingly a destination for Canadian chilled pork that goes directly to the retail and H.R.I. sectors and is among the highest value markets for pork. Canada's three principal competitors on the South Korean pork market, the E.U., U.S. and Chile, all now have free-trade agreements completed with that country

"The Canadian Pork Council supports Canada's efforts to secure more favorable terms of trade through regional trade agreements while we await fuller engagement on the multilateral front of W.T.O. negotiations, and we look forward to successfully completing talks with both the European Union and Korea that will provide the Canadian industry with the additional marketing opportunities that are needed to for us to realize our long-run potential as a leading exporter of pork to the world." Mr. Preugschas said.

Canada is the world's third-largest pork exporter representing 20% of world pork trade. In 2008, Canadian pork was exported to more than 100 countries.