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Trade talks open with Indonesia 

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Canada and Indonesia have agreed to open trade talks.

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Canadian beef halal-standard meat packers hope to gain better access and Cereals Canada said a deal could expand on existing sales.

Canadians “expressed a high level of support for a possible Canada-Indonesia CEPA” during public consultations earlier this year, the government said in a news release.

Supply-managed sectors expressed support for a deal, so long as the federal Liberals uphold a commitment to not provide any more market-access to supply managed goods.

Across the board, there is broad support for Canada to pursue a bilateral deal with Indonesia at the same time it seeks a broader pact with the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is headquartered in Indonesia.

Canada and the ASEAN group held two rounds of exploratory talks, in 2018 and 2019, toward a possible trade pact. Four ASEAN nations – Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei – are already parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade pact with Canada.

By itself, Indonesia is “one of the top destinations for Canadian cereal crops and a gateway into the rapidly growing Asia Pacific region,” said Dean Dias, CEO of Cereals Canada.

Indonesia, he said, “is a major market and source of growth, especially for Canadian wheat exports. Consumers there buy 11 per cent of Canada’s wheat exports to the world, bringing over $600 million in value on average to Canadian farmers and exporters each year.”

Cereals Canada, he said, expects the CEPA negotiations to “strengthen the stability of market access over the long-term.”

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