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Canada-Colombia free trade agreement eliminates high tariffs

Aug. 11, 2011 -The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement has been signed, and once it is implemented (it takes effect on August 15), will remove import duties on Canadian pulse and specialty crops, including canaryseed and buckwheat. The agreement will also remove the 60 percent tariff on Canadian beans.      


August 11, 2011
By Canadian Special Crops Association/Pulse Canada

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August 10, 2011 – The implementation of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement immediately removes import duties on Canadian peas, lentils, chickpeas, canary seed and buckwheat, and will re-establish competitive, duty-free access for Canadian beans which were previously subject to a prohibitive 60 percent tariff.


The Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which comes into effect on August 15, will ensure that Canadian pulses (dry peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas) and special crops (canary seed, buckwheat and sunflower seed and mustard seed) are not disadvantaged relative to other exporters shipping to Colombia. "This trade agreement between Canada and Colombia will give Canadian exporters and farmers greatly improved access to this market, and give Colombia access to suppliers from Canada who will compete on the basis of price and quality, not market distorting tariffs," said Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada and the Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA).


In addition to the elimination of the tariff on peas, lentils and chickpeas, the 60 percent tariff will be removed for the first 4000 tonnes of beans, with this amount growing over 12 years until the market is completely open. CSCA members are also pleased that import duties for mustard and sunflower entering Colombia will be removed over time.


"The Canadian pulse industry has been a long-time advocate for a Canada-Colombia FTA. Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister demonstrates the government’s recognition of the important role that bilateral agreements can play in keeping Canada competitive," said Bacon. "Pulse Canada appreciates the work the Minister of Agriculture and AgriFood Gerry Ritz, who heard directly from Colombian importers about the importance of a Canada-Colombia free trade agreement during a roundtable meeting in 2009."


The agreement also has significant benefits for importers and consumers of pulses and special crops in Colombia. Colombia will gain competitive access from its largest suppliers of pulse products and the elimination of import duties will reduce food costs of these staple food products for people in Colombia. "A solid trade agreement with Canada will ensure Colombian consumers continue to have the most affordable, competitive access to high quality, healthy staple food products from the world’s largest exporter of pulse crops," said Bacon. "Competitive access to food is a critical component of addressing global concerns about food security."


Pulses are Canada’s second largest agri-food export to Colombia, following cereals. Colombia is Canada’s eighth largest market for pulses and special crops, with annual imports from Canada reaching over $82 million and 110,000 tonnes in 2010.