The ag officials discussed trade relations between Canada and the U.S.
By Diego Flammini
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay and United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue appeared together this morning in P.E.I. to reaffirm the strong ag trade ties between the two countries.
“The partnership between Canada and the United States is an envy to the world,” MacAulay said from his farm in Midgell, P.E.I. “Secretary Perdue and I both have farming backgrounds and we know that NAFTA has been a huge win for both of our countries.”
“We hope to have a resolution of a modernized NAFTA very, very soon,” Perdue said. “Minister MacAulay and I are committed to advocating strongly for our farming communities.”
The federal ag officials addressed one specific element of the NAFTA negotiations.
Canada’s supply managed dairy sector has been a sensitive topic during the negotiations. The United States has pushed for more market access but Canadian negotiators have not granted it.
The U.S. is not asking Canada to scrap supply management. Rather, the U.S. wants Canada to allow more American milk into the country, Perdue said.
“We benefit from open markets across our borders,” he said. “The U.S.’s ambition is not to dictate to Canada to do away with its supply management system. We do think we have a request that supply be managed so that (U.S. dairy farmers) do not overproduce and depress world milk solid prices.”
Secretary Perdue also addressed the ag industry and its tendency to be targeted in trade wars.
“I think there is legitimate anxiety among producers on both sides of the border that agricultural commodities many times are the tip of the spear in any retaliatory actions,” he said. “We’re here to try to prevent that and to prevent any escalation involving the free trade between our nations and the world over agricultural products.”
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada photo