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Trade Talks with Japan Open Trade Opportunities for Canadian Pulses

Mar. 2. 2012, Winnipeg – Pulse Canada is optimistic that the launch of free trade negotiations under the Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will reduce barriers for Canadian agricultural exports to Japan, including pulses such as edible beans and peas.

“Improved access into the Japanese market has been a priority for 14 years at Pulse Canada.  The Prime Minister’s announcement of free trade negotiations with Japan gives Canada’s pulse industry reason to be optimistic that improved access for their products will be part of the discussions and hopefully part of an agreement” said Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada.

Japan currently restricts whole pulse imports to 120,000 tonnes annually through a tariff-rate quota (TRQ).  Any imports in excess of this limit face a prohibitive over-quota tariff of 354 yen per kilogram or an incredible $4,200 CDN per tonne.   In 2011, Canada’s pulse exports to Japan were valued at over $22 million CDN and could grow significantly if import barriers are addressed.

Canada’s agricultural sector is well placed to meet Japanese requirements for quality and safety.  “Japan’s consumers have placed a high priority on food safety and the traceability of their imported agricultural products. The implementation of a free-trade agreement with Japan will serve to enhance our ability to further develop and strengthen our supply chain programs with our Japanese customers”, said Gord Pryde, Dry Bean Sales Manager with Hensall District Co-op in Hensall, Ontario.

Pulse Canada has also worked hard over the years to stimulate interest within the Japanese feed sector, however the TRQ hasn’t allowed the industry to fully realize opportunities that exist in this import dependent market.

In addition to whole pulses, pulse flours and fractions, such as protein, starch and fibre, also face prohibitively high import duties that prevent market access.  Improved access for pulse ingredients would provide Canadian exporters an excellent opportunity to capture a share of this important value added market.

Pulse Canada is the national association representing growers, traders and processors of Canadian pulse crops (peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas). Canada is the world’s largest supplier of pulses, with exports reaching more than 150 countries.