TORONTO, March 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Maple Leaf Foods is pleased to announce its support for the negotiations between Canada's federal government and the Government of Japan towards achieving a free trade agreement that could significantly benefit Canada's agri-food sector. "We congratulate both governments on taking the important first steps towards this historic partnership," said Michael McCain, President and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods. "Maple Leaf Foods has had a strong presence in Japan for many years, serving many valued Japanese customers with high quality fresh chilled and frozen pork. This agreement could unlock tremendous opportunities to increase the supply of Canadian pork products to a priority international market for Canada's agri-food sector. We encourage and are hopeful for a timely and ambitious outcome of these negotiations." Maple Leaf Foods appreciates the efforts of Canada's federal government to conclude free trade agreements with a number of countries. In addition to the Canada- Japan free trade negotiations, Maple Leaf Foods looks forward to the federal government's urgent conclusion of a free trade agreement with South Korea. Significant Canadian agri-food exports to South Korea are at risk due to the tariff advantage exporters from the U.S. and other countries now enjoy through trade agreements with the country. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading food processing company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately 19,500 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asia. The Company had sales of $4.9 billion in 2011. SOURCE Maple Leaf Foods Inc.