ROME, ITALY – Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister (AAFC), Lawrence MacAulay, recently concluded his agricultural outreach mission to Europe. During his trip,  MacAulay visited Spain, Belgium and Italy to showcase Canada's agricultural sector to key industry and government officials and to strengthen trade relationships.

Through the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Canadian farmers and food processors are seizing opportunities to diversify trade and contributing to meeting the government of Canada’s goal of C$75 billion in annual agri-food exports by 2025.

“The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is providing increased market access for a wide range of our high-quality agricultural products,” MacAulay said. “There are great opportunities available for our Canadian farmers and food processors in the European markets which will help strengthen our agriculture sector, grow our economy, and create more good paying jobs for Canadians."

Since the implementation of CETA one year ago, trade between Canada and the E.U. has increased by nearly 10%.

The benefits and opportunities of CETA were highlighted throughout MacAulay’s visit. In Brussels, he met with Phil Hogan, E.U. Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Vytenis Andriukaitis, E.U. Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, to discuss agricultural opportunities and approaches to resolving market access irritants.

Many Canadian agricultural exports to the E.U. have increased, with corn up 82%, maple syrup up 13%, blueberries and cranberries up 28% since CETA entered into force.

In Spain, MacAulay had a bilateral meeting with the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, to discuss the opportunities that CETA is creating for both European and Canadian farmers, producers and exporters. He also met with agri-food investors and participated in industry roundtables to promote investment in Canadian agriculture and agri-food and to identify new opportunities for Canadian exporters.

In Italy, Minister MacAulay led three roundtable discussions on trade: one with the Italian grain industry which included stakeholder groups from Canada, and two others with Italian farmer organizations. During the meetings, the Minister advanced market access opportunities for Canadian agricultural products, highlighting the high quality and safety of Canadian agri-food products.

Also in Rome, MacAulay met with José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to discuss Canada’s priorities and reiterate the need for the FAO to provide a neutral venue for engagement on challenging topics related to innovation in the agriculture sector.