By Jayme Gramlich, Trade Policy Analyst, Trade and Value Added Branch, Regina
The 27th annual meeting of the Tri-National Agricultural Accord took place in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico from October 16 to 18, 2018. State and provincial delegates from three Canadian provinces, 11 Mexican states and 18 U.S. states gathered to improve collaboration in agriculture in North America. The first Tri-National Accord took place in Puerto Vallarta in 1992 and has become an annual meeting for invited delegates from the three countries. James Kettel, Executive Director of the Trade and Value Added Branch at the Ministry of Agriculture, participated on behalf of Saskatchewan.
The Accord is an annual meeting of Ministers, Commissioners, Secretaries and Directors of agriculture, and senior officials from the Canadian provinces, U.S. and Mexican states. These meetings are one of the few opportunities where senior officials from provinces and states across North America can meet, not only with their counterparts, but with senior federal officials from all three countries to discuss agriculture and trade policy issues. The 2018 Accord was an excellent opportunity for agricultural advocacy.
The Tri-lateral Harmonization working group discussed collaboration to improve capacity for pest and disease surveillance, prevention and rapid response. New agricultural technologies and food safety were also discussed. This working group issued a joint statement commending federal negotiators on the conclusion of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) negotiations. They agreed to work together throughout the process towards approval and successful implementation.
During the meetings, the Tri-lateral Rural Development working group discussed agricultural workforce development and the importance of rural infrastructure and connectivity.
The Canada-U.S. Bilateral Working Group emphasized the need to implement the USMCA provisions relating to transparency, and information sharing for agriculture biotechnology, including collaboration on emerging technologies and low level presence. This working group also highlighted the importance of science, risk-based food safety standards and regulations, and the need to ensure transparency and collaboration when implementing new food safety standards. The group noted that such collaboration will help ensure the benefits of the USMCA are truly realized.
The Canada-Mexico Working Group emphasized the importance of international trade to job creation, and the continued growth of their economies and expressed support for the USMCA to increase trade and strengthen economic linkages.
The full communiqué and joint statements from each of the five meetings can be found online. In recognition of the importance of the Accord, Canada extended invitations for delegates from both the U.S. and Mexico for the 28th meeting of the Tri-National Accord in 2019.