The Quebec Minister of Agriculture, André Lamontagne, flew to Japan on Sunday to promote local products in Japanese territory, learned The Press. Olymel, duBreton, the Citadelle maple cooperative: a delegation made up of some twenty representatives of Quebec companies is accompanying him on this economic mission to Tokyo and Nagoya.
Japan is the third largest destination for Quebec biofood exports. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ), the value of exports to Japan amounted to 495 million in 2021.
This is the first time since 2012 that a Quebec Minister of Agriculture is leading a mission abroad. It will run from March 6 to 10.
Minister Lamontagne will visit several companies, including the head office of Costco Japan, where he will meet with its president.
He will also go to the Japanese branch of the Quebec multinational Olymel to meet with Japanese pork importers. The visit comes at a time when the Quebec pork industry is going through a difficult period. Japan is one of the major buyers of pork from Quebec.
The Minister, a former grocer himself, will also visit supermarkets that offer Quebec products.
The General President of the Quebec Food Processing Council, Sylvie Cloutier, will be on the trip. This association represents 600 companies that generate 80% of the annual business volume of a $30 billion industry.
Take advantage of the CPTPP
With this mission, Quebec wants above all to take advantage of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade agreement between Canada and nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan. It eliminates customs duties from 98% of exports to member countries and reduces regulatory requirements.
Quebec’s 2018-2025 biofood policy also aims to increase Quebec’s biofood exports by $6 billion to reach $14 billion in 2025.
Maple syrup, pork, berries, seafood and non-GMO soy are particularly popular foods in Japan. Niche products such as gin and cider have also entered the Japanese market in recent years.
On site, several Quebec companies will take part in the Foodex International Food and Beverage Show. The last face-to-face edition, which took place in 2019, attracted nearly 85,000 visitors and 3,300 exhibitors. Quebec companies have been participating in it for about ten years.
According to a directory of the event prepared by the Groupe Export agroalimentaire Québec-Canada, that The Press obtained, companies such as Emblème Canneberge, Coop Agrobio du Québec, Old Harry oysters and Congélerie Héritier will be there this year.
The Export Group, in collaboration with the MAPAQ, will hold an exhibition space called “Espace Québec” this year to further promote products from La Belle Province.