It is good that the UK government has applied to join the free trade area of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
This group of 11 Asian and Pacific nations represents about 500 million people.
Members include; Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Mexico.
Whether the UK would be accepted is problematic, as everyone else borders the pacific (even Canada remotely).
There has been concerns expressed as to whether membership would open up the UK egg industry to cheap imports from countries without the same welfare conditions.
The only countries with substantial egg industries are Mexico, Canada and Japan.
Japan is changing over to niche marketing at home, and is already exporting to Vietnam, with Bangladesh and the Philippines in it’s sights too.
Canada has an egg laying sector of some 68 million hens and about 1,000 farms.
They are strongly controlled by a quote system.
The White Leghorn is the prominent breed.
70% of production is for table consumption and 30% of production for processing. These latter are exported, but Canada, also imports from the USA. Domestic consumption is increasing.
Mexico has an impressive 378 per capita consumption and in 2019, imported 20,000 tonnes of eggs from Brazil and the US, to supplement the output of it’s own 160 million layers.
94% of these are white egg layers, with only 6% being brown-eggers.
So, any imports from Mexico or Canada are unlikely to be shell eggs, predominantly white, but processed egg may be more of a problem for UK processors in time.
This could change again, of course, if the USA also join CPTPP. These are the ones to keep an eye on and hold our government to it’s promises of no compromises to welfare and safety measures.
Little to fear, we believe from CPTPP as it stands, but much to gain in other industries.