MacAulay’s address was the first by a Canadian agriculture minister at the American Farm Bureau’s annual meeting
By Diego Flammini
Canada’s agriculture minister voiced support for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to a room full of farmers in Nashville, Tenn. yesterday.
Speaking to an audience of about 5,000 people at the 99th American Farm Bureau Annual Convention, Minister Lawrence MacAulay reaffirmed Canada’s goals in the tri-lateral trade discussions with Mexico and the United States.
“The Government of Canada is committed to working with the United States to strengthen our relationship and promote NAFTA,” he told reporters during a conference call today. “I reminded our American friends of how vital our trade partnership is for both of our economies.
Lawrence Maculay addressed the American Farm Bureau Federation's Annual Convention
Photo: Jordan Buie/The Tennessean
“Canada is the largest trading partner for 29 states … In total, our nations traded over $60 billion in agriculture and food products last year.”
The U.S. has targeted Canada’s supply management system in NAFTA talks. Several American farm groups and President Trump have called supply management unfair and protectionist.
But Canada will not budge on the matter, especially as other countries struggle with an oversupply of dairy products.
“Why would (Canada) dismantle a system that’s so efficient?” MacAulay said. “There’s other countries including (the United States) that have some difficulties in the dairy industry in particular. All countries have certain things they wish to protect.”
President Trump to speak later today
President Donald Trump will address the ag community this afternoon at the Annual Convention.
Some political analysts have said rural America helped President Trump win the 2016 election, but his policies haven’t reflected his commitment to rural communities.
But the fact that a sitting President is attending the convention should give farmers a vote of confidence, MacAulay said.
“He’s speaking to an audience that is fully committed to NAFTA and that understands the value of trade,” he said. “I think it’s a great thing that he’s coming here and I hope it’s nothing but productive.”
Farms.com will provide coverage following President Trump’s address.