Lifting of Import Restrictions a Diplomatic Coup for Canada

On June 13, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency lifted all import restrictions on foods from Japan that had been imposed in March following the nuclear accident at Fukushima No. 1 plant.

This has been the single piece of information that every government official we’ve met with over the past two weeks has mentioned, whether it was at the national level or at the regional level. Canada was the first country to do so, and this was clearly noted in government circles.

Another lesson we learned through our various consultations is that the Canada-Japan EPA exists in a competitive field of FTA/EPAs vying for attention. Given this competition, I would go as far as claiming that if a Canada-Japan EPA does get concluded eventually, it will have been in part because of the very smart and symbolically powerful decision to lift import restrictions that was made in the government of Canada.

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