WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — Canada's seed industry is getting a boost to its efforts to promote trade and reduce non-tariff trade barriers thanks to a C$100,000 investment by the government announced by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on Nov. 13. 

"The government's top priority remains the economy," said Ritz. "Canada's seed and grain industry plays an important role in creating jobs, increasing trade and keeping our economy strong."

The investment will support the Canadian Seed Trade Association's (CSTA) work on the world stage to develop international consensus on issues that affect the trade of seed, as well as working with foreign regulators and policy-makers to reduce non-tariff barriers to trade. This will lead to improving the international rules governing the trade of seed and set the foundation for increased export sales for Canadian producers.

"Canada is the world's fifth largest exporter of seed, and there is tremendous potential to expand markets. A lot of great work has been done in partnership with government over the years to reduce and eliminate tariffs and subsidies, but our industry is increasingly plagued with non-tariff barriers to trade," said CSTA President Peter Entz. "CSTA is playing a leading role in the international seed industry to address these barriers. The support from the Government of Canada will help us to continue and increase these efforts."

CSTA is a non-profit association that represents a broad cross-section of Canadian businesses that research, produce and market seed, both domestically and internationally. Members range from those who market garden seed and herbs to large grain handlers and multinational seed companies. CSTA's mission is to foster seed innovation and trade.

The investment follows Prime Minister Stephen Harper's announcement that Canada and the European Union (E.U.) have reached an agreement in principle on a comprehensive economic trade agreement that will significantly boost trade and investment ties between the two partners, and create jobs and opportunities for Canadians. Upon entry into force, almost 94 per cent of EU agricultural tariff lines will be duty-free. 

As well as benefiting Canada's seed exports, this agreement will support the industry's work through the AgriMarketing investment on non-tariff trade barriers, with new mechanisms for preventing and resolving trade challenges relating to plant health issues.