top of page
Trade Insights.png

Trade Insights - January 2023

January 26th, 2023

Major Win for CAFTA on Reviewing FTAs


In a low-key motion adopted in late November, the Standing Committee on International Trade agreed to “undertake a study on the impact of non-tariff barriers in existing trade agreements; review other irritants and concerns within existing trade deals such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP); review the potential of such irritants being negotiated into future agreements; that the committee invite the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development and/or other experts the committee deems relevant; that the committee hold a minimum of five meetings; and that the committee report its findings and recommendations to the House.”


This has been a long-standing recommendation from CAFTA and represents a significant win for our advocacy efforts. We’ll be actively participating in this study to ensure it truly understands the negative impact the persistence of non-tariff barriers is having on agri-food exporters.


CAFTA Leadership in Marquee Food Security Event


CAFTA, alongside the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) and the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) are convening a one-day conference to bring together leaders from across agri-food, security, foreign affairs, and trade on January 31, 2022, in Ottawa. The intersection of farming and food production with trade, security and diplomacy presents an enormous opportunity for Canada to define a useful and meaningful role in the world and the discussion will focus on how Canada can best seize the moment.


The world is changing, and agriculture and food are on the front lines. A multilateral system under stress, increasing demand, pressures on production and more are colliding to tighten supplies, increase food insecurity, and challenge trade. As a top foodexporting nation, how Canada chooses to respond will define our place in the world. Canada can set its agri-food sector on the path of global food security, but a more ambitious, more strategic approach is needed.


For more information, visit the event’s website here. We’ll have more to share in next month’s newsletter.


2023: The Year to Expand FTA Networks?


In a letter to Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, European business leaders are urging the EU leadership to pursue new free trade agreements this year to “adapt to a rapidly changing geopolitical and economic reality.” BusinessEurope, the group behind the letter, represent business of all sizes across the EU as well as in seven non-EU countries. CAFTA agrees that 2023 should be the year for new trade agreements and will continue to urge the Canadian government to conclude a variety of negotiations this year including with the UK, India, Indonesia and ASEAN.


CAFTA Briefing with WTO Agriculture Counsellor


On December 13, 2022, CAFTA members participated in a roundtable discussion with Doaa Abdel Motaal, Senior Counsellor at the WTO for Agriculture. Members were able to engage in a frank discussion on a range of issue ranging from agriculture reform, the need for the appellate body to resume functionality and the overall future of the WTO.


FTA Updates


Consultations on Trade Negotiations with Ecuador

On January 6, the Honorable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade announced the launch of public consultations on a potential free trade agreement between Canada and Ecuador. This comes after the announcement of exploratory talks between the two countries in November 2022. The Government of Ecuador has led an ambitious trade liberalization agenda, which includes its formal application to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. You can read the federal government’s news release announcing the consultations here. CAFTA will have more to say about these trade talks soon.


Canada–India Early Trade Progress Agreement (EPTA)

Five rounds of negotiations have taken place toward the Canada–India Early Trade Progress Agreement (EPTA). According to media reports, there remains much optimism that the talks will ultimately be concluded in the not-too-distant future. As India assumes the leadership of the G20, Canada will be sending cabinet ministers to G20 events throughout 2023. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Melanie Joly, is expected to visit India in March and meet with India’s External Affairs Minister. Additionally, Canada’s recent Indo-Pacific Strategy also prioritized strengthening bilateral relations with India. CAFTA looks forward to working closely with the federal government as talks with India progress, as well as providing ideas and recommendations as the Indo-Pacific Strategy is implemented.


2023 North American Leader’s Summit

On January 11, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, met in Mexico City. The leaders signed the Declaration of North America which commits to working to further deepen North American integration to 3 “attract high quality investment, spur innovation, and strengthen the resilience of our economies, recognizing the benefits brought by the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). “


US Trade Policy Updates

The US Senate recently confirmed the Biden administration’s undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at USDA, Alexis Taylor, and Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Doug McKalip, for the U.S. Trade Representative's Office.


WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13)

World Trade Organization (WTO) members agreed that the organization's 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates the week of February 26, 2024 in Abu Dhabi while MC14 will be hosted by Cameroon. We’ll continue to actively play a role in ensuring the successes of MC12 are built upon.


Call for Fertilizer Access: WTO and FAO

A joint study from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) alongside the WTO found that shortages in fertilizers will persist into 2023. The shortages will affect agricultural production and food security globally, but it will be more acutely felt in Africa where farmers are heavily dependent on imported agricultural inputs. The study recommends G20 governments keep food, feed and fertilizer markets open and minimize disruptions to trade in fertilizers, including refraining from export restrictions inconsistent with WTO rule.


CAFTA Attends CORIM and discusses Indo-Pacific Strategy

In late December, CAFTA Executive Director Claire Citeau attended an event sponsored by the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations which featured Melanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. At the event, further details about the Indo-Pacific Strategy were discussed and Minister Joly answered key questions about various government priorities including the critical role agri-food trade will play as part of the IndoPacific Strategy and its implementation. CAFTA will be actively making recommendations on how best Canada can seize opportunities in these large and dynamic markets.


On the Hill

The House of Commons will resume sitting on January 30, 2023. CAFTA looks forward to reengaging with MPs, Senators, senior staff and other policy- and decision-makers once Parliament resumes. We’ll be advocating for various pro-agriculture policies and initiatives as well as tracking Bill C-282 the private members bill that is seeking to fully protect supply management in future trade negotiations. We look forward to the session ahead, a budget expected in the spring and of course, continued progress on the federal government’s ambitious free trade agenda.


House of Commons Standing Committees

In late 2022, the House of Commons Standing Committee of Agriculture began a Food Price Inflation study that is looking at the various causes of higher food prices in Canada. Additionally, the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade (CIIT) will be studying various topics in 2023 including trade opportunities in the Indo-Pacific, modernizing the Canada-Ukraine FTA and reviewing non-tariff barriers in existing and future free trade agreements as noted above.


In case you missed it:

• Global Trade Alert: G20 Trade Policy Factbook November 2022

• Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2023 – GFFA 2023 (

• Costa Rica seeks entry to North America trade pact | Reuters

• WTO Event: Agri-Food Business Day -- December 8-9, 2022

• Opinion: Experts weigh in on the 2023 US-India Trade Policy Forum meetings

• USDA Invests More Than $200 Million to Expand Agricultural Exports Through Market Development Programs

bottom of page