Egg Farmers Concerned Over Trade Pacts


Now that the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a reality, farmers in Canada and Australia, signatories to the trade pact, are concerned over competition from imports. Egg producers in the U.K. are also worried following a statement that Britain may wish to join the CPTPP after Brexit.

Egg producers in Canada and to a lesser extent in Australia who have enjoyed protected status and are generating higher margins than in a competitive environment such as the U.S. are claiming that “quality” will decline as a result of imports.

The influential agricultural periodical FARMINGUK noted that egg industry leaders have already expressed their fears over the possibility of the U.K. market being opened to what they characterize as “low quality food imports” as a result of any post-Brexit trade deals negotiated by the Government. The article in the periodical continued “Egg industry leaders have warned that U.K. producers would be unable to compete with imported egg products produced to lower quality and lower animal welfare standards.” An interesting disclosure from the current debate over protection is the statement by Mark Williams, CEO of the British Egg Industry Council, that 16 percent of the cost of egg production in the E.U. results from compliance with legislation on food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection. This would place U.K. and E.U. producers at a disadvantage compared to countries without similar restrictions. He urged preemptive mitigation to ameliorate possible impacts on egg producers as a result of free trade

Producers in Canada are especially concerned given their protected status. Roger Peleissero, Chairman of the Egg Farmers of Canada, stated “The outcome of the CPTPP agreement means difficult challenges for Canada’s egg farmers.” He added “Once fully implemented, Canadian egg farmers will have lost the right to produce close to 291 million dozen eggs.” Since the inception of a controlled production system the approximately 1,000 egg producers in Canada have enjoyed a privileged status which has ensured high margins supported by consumers who pay approximately twice the price for eggs compared to the U.S.

It appears that egg farmers in Australia, Canada and possibly Britain may be thrown under the bus by their respective governments since the benefits of free trade far outweigh the adverse impact on a narrow sector of the agricultural community.