November 3, 2017
Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, recently joined state and provincial counterparts from the United States, Mexico and Canada to stress the necessity of the North American Free Trade Agreement for agriculture, and call on their respective federal governments to ensure a modernized NAFTA does not harm agriculture.
North American state and provincial agriculture officials recently gathered in Denver for the 26th annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord. The accord represents a long-standing commitment among the senior state and provincial agricultural officials of North America to work together collaboratively on agricultural trade and development issues.
“Trade with Canada and Mexico is absolutely vital for agriculture in Michigan,” says Clover Adams. “As our federal governments continue to negotiate a modernized NAFTA, it is imperative that the gains agriculture has made under NAFTA are preserved and that we ‘do no harm’ so that agricultural trade with our North American neighbors can continue to grow and prosper.”
Speaking in a united voice on behalf of agriculture across North America, U.S., Canadian and Mexican agriculture officials released the following joint statement on the importance of NAFTA for agriculture and food processing: “The ministers, secretaries, commissioners and directors of the state and provincial departments of agriculture from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. emphasize the vital importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement to the agriculture and food processing industries across the continent. Since NAFTA came into effect, these industries have become increasingly integrated, helping North America become a competitive force internationally. The ability to coordinate, collaborate and create agriculture and food products together has made North America a successful economic region that is well positioned to continue providing the world with high-quality and safe food.”
Delegates discussed the importance of NAFTA and the usefulness of state and provincial attendance at negotiating rounds to directly engage federal negotiators on agri-food discussions. They encourage their respective federal governments to perform the following tasks:
• Swiftly modernize NAFTA in a way that does not harm North America’s agriculture and food processing industries so that these industries can have the certainty to invest for the long term and continue to work together and prosper.
• Enhance and formalize mechanisms for states and provinces to consult with the federal Consultative Committees on Agriculture and to serve as official advisers to their relevant committees. Input from state and provincial representatives will help ensure a comprehensive understanding of issues under consideration and their impacts.
• Build upon and enhance the work of the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council, U.S.-Mexico High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Council and trilateral regulatory cooperation bodies to improve regional cooperation, regulatory harmonization and trade facilitation.
• Modernize the agreement’s Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) provisions to ensure effective and timely communication, cooperation, science-based decision-making and transparency.
• Maintain robust, rapid and legally binding dispute resolution mechanisms in NAFTA that are fair and impartial. This includes preserving and strengthening the mechanisms in Chapter 19.
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