Canada is looking to make the most of the trade agreement signed last year with the European Union and increase its fruit exports to the region.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into force in September 2017.
Believing there is unrealized potential for growth exporters from the North American country will travel to Fruit Attraction in Spain later this month, seeking to boost sales of Canadian blueberries, cherries and other products.
Horticultural exports from Canada to the EU have not seen the same growth as shipments from Europe, with Spanish fruit and vegetable shipments to Canada nearly doubling year-on-year in the first five months of this year.
But some Canadian exporters have been taking advantage of the new opportunities.
“Exports to Europe since the signing of CETA have been on a steady increase and have given Canada a great advantage to be more competitive with the reduction of tariffs and duty to zero on the commodities we currently ship”, said Kelly Shabatowski, an export sales agent who works for Consolidated Fruit Packers (CFP), which exports fresh cherries, blueberries and apples.
“There are tremendous opportunities that have yet to be uncovered in Europe, with this in mind CFP has a strategic plan in place to utilize the benefits of the new trade agreement between Europe and Canada.”
However, there are some in Canada’s fresh produce sector that are taking a more cautious approach due to concerns of facing heavy competition.
Beth Cavers, program administrator for the British Columbia Cherry Association, said 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 added that implementation of the EU’s new Plant Health legislation in December 2019 could also affect British Columbia cherry exports to Europe.
Fruit Attraction, which takes place in Madrid, Spain from October 23-25, will be staging a one-day seminar on export opportunities in Canada as part of its World Fresh Forum.