Leef touts European trade deal

A forthcoming trade deal between Canada and the European Union will be a boon for Yukon businesses like Icy Waters, says MP Ryan Leef.

A forthcoming trade deal between Canada and the European Union will be a boon for Yukon businesses like Icy Waters, says MP Ryan Leef.

A growing slice of the Whitehorse fish farm’s business is in selling live Arctic char eggs, rather than fresh and frozen fillets, said manager Jonathan Lucas. That makes foreign fish farms a big potential customer.

An Austrian company bought approximately 40,000 eggs last year. Such customers now pay tariffs between 11 to 25 per cent.

Lower these barriers and foreign customers can be expected to buy more eggs, said Leef at a news conference at Icy Waters Friday.

“Our government is continuing to help businesses like this grow and succeed,” said Leef. “We know companies like Icy Waters can compete and win.”

As more foreign orders pour in, Icy Waters is struggling to keep up with demand.

Following a big order from China, the company may export two million eggs this year.

That means the company, which currently employs approximately 13 workers, will likely hire more staff and buy more local equipment, said Lucas.

Char remains a speciality fish compared to salmon and trout. But it’s growing in popularity, thanks to the firmness of its flesh and the amount of omega-three fatty acids and vitamin D it contains, said Lucas.

Icy Waters has bred a faster-growing char, making the business globally competitive, he said.

Leef said that according to one study trade between Canada and the EU could grow by 20 per cent. That’s worth $12 billion annually or 80,000 new jobs.

Icefield Tools is another Yukon business set to benefit from the European trade deal, said Sandy Babcock, president of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce. The Whitehorse company manufactures precision borehole surveying tools and sells them around the world.

With cold climate research burgeoning in the territory, “there’s huge potential” for more exports, said Babcock.

Contact John Thompson at johnt@yukon-news.com

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