U.S., Canada ag leaders discuss trade issues
by Bryan Salvage
OTTAWA, Canada – Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have concluded what’s being called “a productive meeting on the two nations' shared agricultural interests.” Both men agreed to create a working group to advance a science-based approach to global agricultural trade, improve Canada-U.S. agricultural border flows and regulatory approaches and further strengthen the Canada-U.S. approach to food safety.
"Canada and the United States already exchange over $34B CDN [US$32.6 billion] in agricultural products every year,” Ritz said. “Working together, we can break down barriers overseas and expand the opportunities for Canadian and American farmers throughout the world."
"[During the meeting] we agreed to establish a bilateral working group to examine ways we can collaborate and promote more free exchange of agricultural products between our countries, and in markets around the globe,” Vilsack said. “The farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and Canada are among the most productive in the world, and they only benefit by reducing barriers to markets."
Both men agreed to promote science-based agricultural trade – including reducing trade barriers for Genetically Engineered products and other issues – to the shared benefit of both nations' agricultural sectors. Both reaffirmed their interest in cooperation on priority markets for beef and other high-value agriculture products where possible.
They also discussed the need to revitalize the rural economy, promote a strong renewable fuels sector on both sides of the border, and implement and strengthen organic equivalency standards and the Global Research Alliance.