It’s been just over a year since the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) was signed. It’s succeeded in eliminating most agricultural tariffs and regulations, such as phytosanitary requirements, that could impede the flow of fruits and vegetables.
By contrast, U.S. protectionist sentiments mean that European exporters must deal with U.S. officials on a product-by-product basis, requiring lengthy negotiations without any guarantee of success. It’s not surprising that European and Canadian produce exporters are looking to each other for opportunities to expand their markets.
Spain is a case in point. Fruit Attraction is a fresh produce trade show being held in Madrid Oct. 23-25, 2018. Canada (and Saudi Arabia) are this year’s designated invitees to the show. Reflecting Canada’s importance as an importer of European-grown fruits and vegetables, Fruit Attraction will be staging a one-day seminar on export opportunities entitled Canada: Keys andopportunities to tackle the market.
For Canadians looking to export to Europe, Fruit Attraction issued a news release on Oct. 11 in which they quote Kelly Shabatowski, an B.C. export sales agent for Consolidated Fruit Packers (CFP): “Exports to Europe since the signing of CETA have been on a steady increase. There are tremendous opportunities that have yet to be uncovered in Europe.”
The release goes on to say that some in Canada’s fresh produce sector, however, did sound a cautionary note. Beth Cavers, program administrator for the B.C. Cherry Associationsaid that although the ratification of CETA was definitely helpful for the region’s cherry exports, shipments to Europe were complicated by strong competition from growers within the EU. Cavers said implementation of the EU’s new Plant Health legislation in December 2019 could also affect B.C. cherry exports to Europe.