Between the Rock and a hard place: St. Pierre & Miquelon's import and export woes
The small and isolated French-owned islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon are having a hard time pushing through bureaucratic red tape that's fouling hopes of their entrepreneurs.
Thierry Gautier is the owner and operator of Ferme de l'Ouest, a farm on the island of Miquelon. He farms lamb, duck, sheep and cows, but he's made his name with his duck products, namely, foie gras.
Gautier says he hopes to sell his products at the St. John's Farmers' Market.
"There are a lot of people from Newfoundland that have come here and bring my products back home with them," said Gautier.
"I also know a lot of people in Newfoundland, and it's true that my products are getting more and more well-known."
Standing in his way — sanitary regulations imposed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
What that means is the sanitary status of the islands has to be approved by Canada if they want to export products.
"That's something that's in the process, but it's something that was slow starting, and that is moving also pretty slowly," said Bowring.
And, as if that didn't make things tough enough for hopeful exporters, there's also the fact that St. Pierre and Miquelon are not part of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union.
"St. Pierre and Miquelon is pretty much stuck in between a rock and a hard place," said Bowring.
"It's totally crazy," said Marcel-Christophe Dagort, owner of the Marcel Dagort grocery store in St. Pierre, when asked about the export regulations.
"Most of the ingredients, including the live ducks come from Canada," he said.
"The corn used to feed the ducks come from Canada, etcetera, etcetera. And we are just ten miles away from Newfoundland, therefore from Canada. It is very difficult to understand."