As part of the Ontario government’s ongoing trade efforts, Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, announced they will lead an Ontario trade mission to South Korea and Japan from October 12-24, 2019.
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker, who represents a large agricultural riding, applauded Premier Doug Ford and Ministers Hardeman and Fedeli on the announcement of the upcoming mission. He said the mission will focus on helping sectors affected by trade challenges to access new markets such as pork, beef, canola and soy as well as developing new opportunities in key business sectors.
“This trade mission is a great opportunity to promote Ontario as a top destination for business,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “We’re sending a strong message that we’re open for business and open for jobs, and our farmers are ready to compete on the international market with their world-class products.”
“Farmers in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound and across Ontario produce some of the highest quality food products in the world and trade issues do not change that,” said Walker. “This trade mission to South Korea and Japan is an opportunity to strengthen trade ties, develop business relationships and promote and raise awareness of our agri-food products in these emerging markets.”
Minister Hardeman will work to connect Ontario farmers and food processors with key importers and buyers to promote the high quality of Ontario products, including pork, beef, and soybeans. Minister Fedeli will promote Ontario as a top destination to do business and invest, with a focus on aviation, aerospace and other key emerging sectors. Raymond Sung Joon Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility, will join the South Korea portion of the mission and will spearhead contact and business development with important trading partners.
This trade mission adds to initiatives taken by the Ontario government to support key sectors impacted by trade disruption. Last month, the government began accepting applications for the Market Access Initiative, a new cost-share funding initiative open to all Ontario food and agri-product exporters to assist them in accessing new markets. The Market Access Initiative application intake will review applications as received and remain open until funding budgeted for the initiative is no longer available.
In August, Hardeman led a conference call meeting with provincial and territorial agriculture ministers from across Canada focused on trade and market access and development to explore ways to help farmers hurt by the trade disruptions with China to find alternative markets. Hardeman has also repeatedly pressed the federal government to urgently resolve the issue.
“Leading this trade mission is part of my commitment to stand up for Ontario farmers affected by the trade disruption with China,” said Minister Hardeman. “For the sectors involved in our mission, namely pork, beef, and grain farmers, we see great potential to develop more business connections and access to new and growing international markets for their high-quality products.”
“Made in Ontario means a high standard of quality that is second to none,” said Minister Fedeli. “By leveraging the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, we are providing Ontario businesses with access to some of the fastest growing markets in the world that will drive economic prosperity and create good jobs here at home.”