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Implications of'~he CariadalU.S.A. Trade Agreernentfor Fish~ries
The elements of a Trade Agreementbetween Canada and the U.S.A. wereagreed to on October 3, 1987. Withrespect to the elements, the followingis a brief synopsis of the items thathave significant implications for thefisheries:
Tariffs: Some fisheries tariffs arescheduled for immediate elimination,others will be eliminated over a fiveyear or ten-year period. The main tariffitem of significance (U.S.A. 10% and15% tariffs and Canada's 11% and17.5% tariffs on fish sticks, portions,prepared meals, etc.) would be eliminated over the ten-year period.
Investments: The Parties agreed toprovide each other's investors nationaltreatment with respect to establishinga new business, buying an existing business, operating and selling an existingbusiness. However, all existing laws,regulations, published policies andpractices not in conformity with thisobligation are grandfathered. Therefore,Canada's policy that fishing vesselsmust be owned by a majority of Canadians remains. With respect to the purchase of Canadian fish processingplants by U.S.A. investors, currently theonly requirement is that the purchaseof processing assets over $ 5 millionmust be first reviewed by InvestmentCanada. This review requirement willrise over four years to the $150 millionlevel.
Countervail/Subsidy Laws: Nochanges. The countervail and subsidylaws in place at the time the treaty isratified will generally apply toCanada/U.S.A. trade for the succeedingfive years while the two sides attemptto develop a specific Canada/U.S.A.countervail and subsidy code. Duringthe course of the treaty, changes tocountervail and dumping laws canapply to Canada/U.S.A. trade only if thelegislation changing the laws specifically states the changes apply also toCanada/U.S.A. trade.
Dispute Settlement: Minor change.Countervail complaints will still beinvestigated by U.S.A. Commerce andU.S.I.T.C. according to current U.S.A.countervaillaws at the time. However,if the Canadian export industry believesthe above bodies have ruled incorrectlyvis-a-vis U.S.A. laws, the Canadian
export industry can appeal to a binational panel comprised of five judges,of which at least two are from Canada.At present, the Canadian export industry can appeal to the U.S.A. international trade court in New York - whichthe Fisheries Council of Canada ispresently doing regarding certain subsidy findings by the U.S.A. CommerceDepartment in the fresh groundfishcountervail case.
Trade Restrictions: With rspect toimport restrictions in fisheries products,the only restrictions allowed are thosefor health, safety, and the conservationof the resource. With respect toexports, restrictions can be imposed onthe basis of short supply and the conservation of the resource. However,such export restrictions must providethe sharing of the resource with theother Party.
All existing quantitative restrictionsnot consistent with the above Agreement will be either eliminated (immediately or by an agreed timetable) orgrandfathered.
Inputs: All agricultural tarifs will beeliminated within 10 years. Canada willeliminate import licenses for wheatproducts as soon as the support levelsfor these products in both countries aretechnically equal.
Standards: Standards and regulations are allowed to protect health andsafety, environmental, national security,and consumer interests. However,these measures must not operate toexclude goods of the other Party thatmeet these objectives.
Fisheries Council of Canada'sReaction: As an export industry heavily dependent on unfettered access tothe U.S.A. seafood market, the Fisheries Council of Canada has been highlysupportive of the initiative to establisha formalized special trading relationshipwith the U.S.A. This has been particularly true in recent years as threateningtrade legislations have been proposedin both the U.S.A. Congress and Senate.There is no question that the eventualelimination of the U.S.A. tariff on sticks,portions, and seafood prepared dinnerswill lead to improved efficiencies, enabling the current Canadian producers ofthese products to better rationalizeproduction and eventually lead toincreased employment in Canada. Itmay also open up opportunities formedium size processors to becomeinvolved in the processing of theseproducts, either under their own brandsor for brands currently well establishedin the U.S.A. market. However, beforea final assessment of the Treaty can bemade regarding its potential impact onCanada's fisheries, we must first have
the detailed legal document and, morespecifically, determine what legislationand non-tariff items on both sides ofthe border are eliminated or grandfathered.
U.S.A. Groundfish RestrictionsOn October 1, 1987 the U.S.A.
National Marine Fisheries Serviceintroduced minimum size possessionrestrictions on certain groundfish andflatfish species as part of its groundfishmanagement plan. The restrictions alsoapplied to imports. The minimum sizesare: cod, haddock, pollock - 19", yellowtail flounder and American plaice _12", witch flounder - 14", and winterflounder - 11".
These restrictions have proveddifficult for many U.S.A. New Englandfresh fish processors who depend onthese imports from Canada. Consequently, considerable discussion is currently taking place in New EnglandManagement Council to address theproblem. One approach recommendedwas to impose equivalent minimum sizepossession restrictions on fresh filletsof the designated species. However, itnow appears that the New EnglandManagement Council recognizes that(i) such an approach would cause evengreater hardship to New England freshfillet processors; and (ii) it is almostimpossible to develop a verifiable filletequivalent size; and (iiil such restrictions are against the U.S.A:s GATT obligations. Both the Canadian and Icelandic governments voiced their objectionsto the U.S.A. State Department to anymove by the U.S.A. to restrict filletimports.
Source: Fisheries Council of CanadaBulletin. November 1987.
BackgroundAs a food processing technology,
irradiation has been studied during thepast 40 years. Internationally, 32 countries have approved irradiation for usewith one or more food products, 11have a commercial program and about25 facilities treat food on a commercialscale.
There has been renewed internationalinterest in food irradiation as a methodof improving the· safety, quality andshelf-life of foods, mainly because oftwo recent developments:1. The conclusion of the 1981
FAO/IAEAIWHO Expert Committeethat foods irradiated up to an over-
J. Inst. Can. Sci. Technol. Aliment. Vo!. 21, No. 2, 1988
all dose of 10 kGy were wholesome(details discussed below).
2. The banning of fumigants such asethylene dibromide (EDB) in manycountries, making the search foralternative methods of insect control a priority. This will have a significant effect on trade patterns,especially for Third World countriesthat ship fresh produce to NorthAmerica and Europe.
The irradiation processIrradiation is a process whereby
foods are exposed to ionizing radiationto achieve a variety of effects depending on the dosage.
Ionizing radiation is capable of breaking molecules into smaller ionized orelectrically charged particles. Thesources of ionizing radiation availableto treat foods are X-rays, acceleratedelectrons or more commonly, gammarays emitted from the radioisotopescobalt-60 or cesium-137.
Irradiation affects food products atthe cellular level. For potatoes, onionsand garlic, ionizing radiation interfereswith cell division and thus preventsgrowth of sprouts during storage. Forfresh fruit, ionizing radiation affects the
ripening and aging process, therebymaintaining quality and extending theshelf-life. Ionizing radiation also breaksdown some of the chemical bonds inorganisms that contaminate food,thereby reducing the number of pathogenic micro-organisms in meat, fish,poultry and spices, and kills or renderssexually sterile insects in grains, spices,fruits and vegetables.
ApplicationsCurrently, no food is being commer
cially irradiated in Canada for the marketplace nor are any irradiated foodsknowingly being imported. Commercialuse of food irradiation depends on anumber of factors including the technical effect on food, the existence ofdemand for the benefits provided, competitiveness with alternate processesand the willingness of consumers tobuy irradiated food products. Foodirradiation will not solve all of our foodproblems. It will not replace widelyused food processing techniques.However, it will add to the choices wehave to improve the quality and safetyof our food supply.
Not all foods are good candidates forirradiation, just as not all foods are
suitable for other physical processessuch as freezing or canning. For example, dairy products are more sensitiveto the process and develop off-flavors.Irradiation can also cause softening anddiscoloration in some fruits and vegetables.The efficacy (ability to produce adesired effect) of food irradiation hasbeen demonstrated for certain applications which the food industry may tryto employ. These include the irradiationof meat to greatly reduce pathogens,such as Salmonella in poultry, the irradiation of strawberries to delay moldgrowth and extend shelf-life and theirradiation of fruit and vegetables toreplace the chemical fumigants such asethylene dibromide for deinfestation.For the food industry, these functionalbenefits translate to potential benefitssuch as reduction in waste, lower costs,expanded markets and higher qualityfoods.
Irradiation of foods still requires goodmanufacturing and handling practices.While the process reduces, inactivatesor destroys the initial microbial population, there is no residual protectionagainst recontamination from improperhandling. Meat and fish products will
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122 / lA J. Inst. Can. Sci. Technol. Aliment. Vol. 21, No. 2, 1988
still require refrigeration although theywill have a longer shelf-life.
Once a product is irradiated, properpackaging is also essential to maintainthe product in an optimum state. Packaging research has centered on findingflexible, lightweight containers capableof withstanding handling and storagewhile retaining their protective qualities.
124 / lA
Chemical, physical and microbiologicalstudies are conducted to ensure safetyof the final packaged products.
Industry ReactionFood industry reaction has been cau
tious towards food irradiation technology. Industry is waiting to see howgovernment regulations, specificallythose concerning labelling, will bepromulgated. Industry does not want tobegin using a process that consumersview negatively. However, recent consumer research indicates that consumers are willing to learn more aboutfood irradiation. Recently, industry hasformed the Canadian Council for theAdvandement of Food Technologies.The council will be focusing on irradiation as one of its programs. The council's mandate is to provide the public,legislators and the media with credibleinformation on food technologies.
Consumer ConcernsConsumer concerns about safety
have centered on two issues - wholesomeness and the inducement or radioactivity in foods. With respect to thelatter, energy levels of the approvedsources for food irradiation are too lowfor radioactivity to be induced in foods.With respect to the former, when foodsare exposed to ionizing radiation, substances called radiolytic products areformed. Radiolytic does not meanradioactive. The term refers to productsthat are formed when foods are irradiated. Studies from various experts haveshown these products to be the sameas those occurring naturally in freshfoods, or the same as those resultingfrom other processes such as heating,frying and broiling. To date, no uniqueradiolytic products have been found inirradiated foods.
Critics of the process, on the otherhand, maintain that long-term safety inhumans has not yet been proved. Theyclaim that uncertainties about safetyremain because of poor test design andmethodologies. However, in 1981, anExpert Committee of the World HealthOrganization (WHO), the Food andAgriculture Organization (FAO) and theInternational Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) engaged itself in a review of thedata accumulated over the past40 years. The Expert Committee concluded that irradiation up to an overalldose of 10 kGy presents no toxicological hazards and introduces no specialnutritional and microbiologicalproblems when compared to other conventional processes. Data were insufficient to formulate conclusions on applications of food irradiation above10 kGy.
Low dose applications up to 1 kGywill inhibit sprouting, control insectinfestation and delay ripening. Mediumdose applications up to 10 kGy willreduce the microbial load and the number of pathogens (such as Salmonella).High dose applications greater than10 kGy will sterilize foods.
Proposed RegulationsIn Canada, provision has existed underthe Food and Drug Regulations sincethe mid 1960s for the irradiation andmarketing of potatoes and onions toinhibit sprouting, and for the treatmentof wheat, flour and whole wheat flourto reduce insect infestation. Provisionwas made in 1984 for the irradiation ofspices to reduce bacterial contamination. Recently a petition was submittedto Health and Welfare Canada forpoultry irradiation to eliminateSalmonella and other pathogens andextend the shelf life. Health and WelfareCanada is currently reviewing the submission.
As a result of the International ExpertCommittee's findings on the safety offood irradiation technology, Health andWelfare Canada, the federal department responsible for the Food and DrugRegulations, proposed in 1983 thatfood irradiation should no longer becontrolled under the existing food additive provisions. Instead, separaterequirements are being considered byHealth and Welfare Canada to specifically regulate this technology as aprocess. To address wholesomenessconcerns and to ensure optimum quality and safety, the proposed regulationsset out clearly the basis of proofrequired for submissions on new usesof irradiation. It is proposed that toxicological testing will not be required fordoses up to 10 kGy. It should beemphasized that no relinquishing ofcontrol of food irradiation from a publichealth point of view will occur if theproposed regulations are adopted.
Regulations concerning labelling offoods lies within the jurisdiction of Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada(CCAC). Much discussion with industry and consumer groups has takenplace regarding the type of labelling toadopt. The CCAC position has beenthat all irradiated products to be sold toCanadian consumers will be clearlylabelled, but the issue of how to labelproducts containing irradiated ingredients is still outstanding. What is certain, is that consumers will be given theoption to decide for themselveswhether or not they wish to buy irradiated products. CCAC issued Communique No. 50 in 1985 outlining the listof labelling options being considered.
J. Inst. Can. Sci. Technol. Aliment. Vol. 21, No. 2, 1988
Other Government ActivitiesIn June of 1986, an interdepartmen
tal advisory committee led by Agriculture Canada was established. The purpose of the committee is to provide aforum for the exchange of information,to identify needs and to recommendcourses of action to be taken in areassuch as regulations, economic and market impact analyses and research.Agriculture Canada has also established a committee to coordinateactivities on food irradiation within thedepartment. One of the issues that thecommittee will be investigating is thepotential non-tariff trade barriers thatcould be created by the irradiation regulations of our trading partners.
Future DirectionsIf all elements of the marketplace ulti
mately agree that irradiation has a role,then the food industry requires the support of applied research. To ensure optimum quality of irradiated foods, thereis a need for translation of small-scalelaboratory experiments to large-scaletrials under commercial conditions.Agriculture Canada has established 'aresearch and development food irradiation facility at the Saint-Hyacinthe
Food Research Centre in Quebec. Thisfacility is available to industry for their
, own research projects and for trainingtechnicians in the operation of foodirradiation equipment. A demonstrationfacility for food irradiation, the Canadian Irradiation Centre, was opened inMay 1987 at Laval, Quebec. ThisCentre is a non-profit project jointlysponsored by Atomic Energy of CanadaLimited and the Institut Armand Frappier for the promotion of radiationprocessing technology.
Food irradiation as a processing technology offers some advantages overconventional processing, and eachapplication will be evaluated on itsmerits. It should be noted that, as is thecase with all food technologies,Agriculture Canada is in no waypromoting this technology over others.One of the roles of the departments isto help the food industry take advantage of all processing technologies toensure the best quality products,thereby ensuring the competitivenessof Canadian foods both at home andabroad.
Agriculture Canada will continue tomonitor developments in food irradiation to ensure Canadians have a safeand high quality food supply.
The following 11 trends are summarized from a report by J.N. Young of theLeatherhead Food Research Association, Surrey, U.K., published in February1987. The report was presented to theDirectorate-General for Science,Research and Development of theCommission of the European Communities. It forms a part of a broad EECstudy on liThe Future of the Food System" which is examining impacts andtrends during the next 10-15 years.These findings are expected to haveequal impact on the food processingindustry in North America during thesame period.
1. Technologies forecast to have amajor impact by the year 2000 areprocess automation, biotechnology inthe agricultural sector, process design,microelectronics, new packagingmaterials/concepts.
2. Technologies forecast to have amoderate - major impact by the year2000 are biotechnology specific to thefood industry, gas/modified atmosphere
Donald K. Hartman, President, is pleased to advise you of the recent additions of Laura Wallcraftand Paul Paterson to our Flavour Division.Laura Wallcraft received her diploma as a Chemical Laboratory Assistant in 1982. Her workexperience i'ncludes Quality Control and microbiological testing of raw materials and finishedproducts. She brings her expertise into our Flavour Laboratory as Quality Control Technician.Paul Paterson joins our Flavour Sales team of AI Frittenburg, Rob Kowal, and Denis Lafortune. Paulreceived his under graduate degree at the University of Western Ontario in 1980. He has beenworking in the industry since that time.To compliment and strengthen the Flavour Division, AI Frittenburg has been appointed FlavourSales Manager. These structural changes/additions within our organization enhance our ability tobetter service you, our valued client.
Can. Inst. Food Sci. Technol. J. Vol. 21, No. 2, 1988 lA / 125