OTTAWA, Ontario – Canada’s federal government budget announced March 22 has already been reviewed by the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) with great interest. Addressing emerging swine health issues and the need for Canada to pursue free-trade agreements (FTAs) were among the government’s commitments listed in the budget.

CPC said opening markets is critical for the Canadian hog industry's recovery. “The CPC continues to be a strong supporter of Canada entering into a comprehensive free-trade agreement with the European Union and finalizing bilateral free-trade agreement with South Korea,” the council stated. “CPC wants the government to resume the FTA talks with South Korea that have been interrupted since 2008. With the recent agreement between South Korea and the United States, the Canadian pork industry is very concerned that postponing the FTA talks any further will seriously affect the competitiveness of the pork industry and all other Canadian sectors exporting to South Korea.”

Canada’s pork industry is grateful its government has recognized the importance of animal health, CPC said. “The Canadian hog sector was dramatically impacted by Porcine Circovirus Associated Diseases five years ago and producers are aware of the ever-present threat of foreign animal disease outbreak to the industry,” CPC added. “The funding extension to the Swine Health Board will allow the board to complete projects that were initiated over the past two years in addition to allowing the industry to continue to improve its capacity to react swiftly to emerging animal health challenges.”