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THE latest trade figures for Canada’s exports of fish and seafood products reveal that the country exported $4.14 billion in fish and seafood products in 2012, an increase of $41 million from 2011.

“Fish and seafood is one of the largest single food commodities exported by Canada. The strong exports in 2012 demonstrate the trust consumers place in our fish and seafood products worldwide,” said Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Keith Ashfield. “The sector currently employs approximately 80,000 Canadians who are involved in commercial fishing, aquaculture and processing activities. We are proud of this industry and will continue to support it.”

"Our fisheries and aquaculture operations are managed in a responsible and sustainable manner to ensure economic benefits for current and future generations. Canadian fish and seafood products are among the best in the world," added Minister Ashfield.

Canada exported fish and seafood products to 118 countries last year, with approximately 62 per cent of those exports destined for the United States at a value of $2.6 billion. The People’s Republic of China and the European Union are also significant markets, importing more than $439 million and $343 million worth of Canadian fish and seafood products respectively in 2012. Canada’s largest exports by value were lobster, snow/queen crab, Atlantic salmon, and shrimp. In 2012, these species accounted for 48 per cent (284 tonnes) of all fish and seafood exports by volume and 61 per cent ($2.5 billion) of the total value of exports.

This week Minister Ashfield is visiting the International Boston Seafood Show, North America’s largest fish and seafood trade show. The Department is attending the tradeshow to support Canada’s fisheries and aquaculture industries, and as part of the Government of Canada’s coordinated effort to showcase Canada’s commitment to sustainability.

Gerald Keddy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and for the Atlantic Gateway, will also attend the Boston Seafood Show. He will meet with Canadian stakeholders and highlight the benefits a Canada-EU trade agreement would bring to Canada’s fish and seafood industry.

“With its world-class fish and seafood industry, Canada stands to benefit greatly from a Canada‑EU trade agreement,” said Parliamentary Secretary Keddy. “Canada has a historic opportunity to gain preferential access to the European Union, a 500 million consumer market and the world’s largest importer of fish and seafood, importing an average of $25 billion annually. This will in turn create jobs and long-term prosperity for hard-working Canadians across the country.”

Canada’s fish and seafood exports to the EU were worth $404 million in 2012. These exports currently face average EU tariffs of 11 per cent, with peaks up to 25 per cent. Once implemented, a Canada-EU trade deal would immediately eliminate EU tariffs on most fish and seafood products.

"Our Government remains focused on four priorities, as outlined by the Prime Minister, that Canadians care most about: their families, their safety, their pride in being a citizen of this country, and of course, their personal financial security," concluded Minister Ashfield.

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