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Moroccan and Canadian Pulse Industries Push for Free Trade Agreement

May 1, 2012, Winnipeg, MB - Moroccan pulse importers and Canadian pulse exporters are working together to remove high tariffs that are restricting pulse trade.

Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz, and Canada’s Chief Negotiator for the Moroccan trade agreement attended a meeting of Canadian exporters and Moroccan importers last week.  During the meeting, the pulse industry stressed the value of a free trade agreement.  Minister Ritz was in Morocco for meetings with government officials to promote the Canada-Morocco trade initiative.   

“Moroccan pulse importers and Canadian pulse exporters have a common view on the value of improved market access for pulse trade between Canada and Morocco,” said Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada.  “We need to encourage governments to conclude negotiations and implement a trade agreement,” said Ghalab Benchaib of AIMEXICLE, Morocco’s national association of importers of cereals, pulses and spices.

Morocco’s pulse imports are currently governed by a range of policies and import tariffs for pulses from different origins.  While some countries have tariff-free access, Canadian peas, lentils and beans face a 50% tariff.  In 2011, Canada’s export of lentils to Morocco was only 22.5% of the previous 5-year average.  With the current price of small green lentils delivered to Morocco valued at approximately $1000 per tonne, an additional $500 in tariffs is added to the price.

Following the meeting, a joint letter summarizing key discussion items was sent to Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Canada’s Minister for International Trade, and was copied to Ministers of Agriculture in both countries.

Harmonized tariffs and taxes for all suppliers will ensure that Moroccan consumers benefits from Canada’s position as the world’s largest exporter of peas and lentils.  Free trade negotiations between Morocco and Canada were launched in January 2011.  Morocco is one of Canada’s top five markets for small green lentils and a major market for Canadian durum.  On average, Canada exports approximately 23,000 tonnes of pulses to Morocco annually.


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