By Bruce Cochrane
The chair of Alberta Pork says international trade is a double edged sword that offers both a source of great opportunity and great risk for Canadian's pork industry.
Challenges and Opportunities for the Western Canadian Hog Industry will be the focus of a panel discussion slated for Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2014 in Saskatoon November 18 and 19.
Alberta Pork chair Frank Novak, one of three invited panelists, suggests international trade is a source of both great opportunity and great risk with U.S. Country of Origin Labelling and the Russian situation being examples of the risks that come with the politics of international trade and agreements with south Korea and Europe being examples of the opportunities.
Frank Novak-Alberta Pork:
I think that obviously right now things look better than they have for quite some time but the competitive pressures will not go away.
We will always be in a commodity business.
We live right across the border from the most fiercely competitive industry in the world probably which is the United States and I think that we need to not lose sight of the fact that we need to be competitive versus our American friends both in terms of our revenue opportunities but also in terms if our cost structures and right now I would say that we're offside on both of those.
The nice returns we're having right now masks that long term structural issue but we can not lose sight of the fact that we still do have issues with respect to our competiveness both revenue wise and cost wise compared to our American friends.
Novak says, with regards to Country of Origin Labelling, the ball is now the Americans' court and everyone is expecting the U.S. to appeal the latest WTO ruling.
He says expects the U.S. to drag the matter through every single stop possible but, at the end of the day, he is confident the issue will be resolved in favor of Canada and Mexico.