Phytosanitary import requirements can become significant non-tariff deterrents to market access for Canadian fresh produce, as other countries may impose restrictions that are not always supported by a science-based assessment of risk. These include: unreasonable laboratory testing requirements, costly pre-clearance inspections, lack of acceptance of CFIA accredited Canadian laboratory tests, and inconsistent and non-transparent regulations that change without fair notice.
- The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) urges the government to include harmonized and technically justified phytosanitary requirements in international free trade agreements. This harmonization would strengthen the need for countries to conduct science-based risk assessments and allow fair market access opportunities based on valid phytosanitary conditions.
Previous advocacy activities
- In July 2017, CHC submitted comments to Global Affairs Canada for a China Free Trade Agreement and for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The comments included a request for harmonized phytosanitary requirements based on sound science, as CHC members see inconsistent restrictions as one of the largest barriers to entering global markets.
- In June 2017, CHC appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food and spoke about non-tariff barriers to trade and the need for harmonized phytosanitary import requirements between countries.
- In December 2013, CHC identified phytosanitary concerns as a problematic non-tariff trade barrier during a presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food regarding the Canada and European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).