Canada could soon start collecting a new levy on imported cuts of fresh pork to help promote its own pork industry.
The Canadian Pork Council is drafting a levy proposal to send to federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz sometime this summer, said Jurgen Preugschas, CPC chairman.
Ritz supports the idea and has promised to implement it as soon as he can, Preugschas said.
“The feds have assured us that they will fast-track it and get it through as quickly as possible,” he said after speaking to the April 13 annual meeting of the Manitoba Pork Council in Winnipeg.
Manitoba and all the other provincial pork councils must approve the plan before it goes to Ritz. But Preugschas said he expects unanimous support.
“I can’t see any reason why anyone would be against this.”
The levy will be similar to one the United States imposes on meat and live animals entering the country. Funds collected go toward research and promotion programs for U.S. pork and beef.
Canada’s hog and cattle producers have long resented the fact that the U.S. levies their meat and livestock exports for research and promotion while similar American imports enter this country levy free.
Preugschas said the legal ability to levy imports for promotional purposes has always existed but never been exercised until now.
The size of the levy isn’t known yet. Preugschas said legally it cannot be bigger than a levy any province currently applies on sales of its own pigs.
When it’s in effect, it could generate between $1 million and $2 million for pork research and promotion in Canada, he said.
Preugschas said the levy is timely because U.S. pork shipments to Canada are up significantly. The Canadian Pork Council estimates 25 per cent of the pork purchased in this country comes from the U.S.
The main reason for the increase is price. Preugschas said the U.S. can land pork in Canada at “extremely low prices,” although it’s not clear why.
He said some Canadian processors allege U.S. pork is dumped into Canada (e. g., sold at below its cost of production). The CPC has looked into the matter but found insufficient evidence to request an anti-dump investigation.