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North American ag officials urge approval of USMCA

Delegates note importance of trade relationship and agree to work together toward USMCA approval and implementation.

Members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) and their state and provincial counterparts from Mexico and Canada issued a joint statement on the approval and successful implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

North American state and provincial agriculture officials gathered last week in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, for the 27th annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord. The accord represents a long-standing commitment among the senior state and provincial agricultural officials of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to work together collaboratively on agricultural trade and development issues.

Related: Goodbye NAFTA, hello USMCA

In their joint communiqué, the leaders of the state and provincial departments of agriculture from across North America said, “The ministers, secretaries, commissioners and directors of the state and provincial departments of agriculture from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. commend federal negotiators on the conclusion of negotiations on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Delegates acknowledge the importance of our long-established trade relationship and agree to work together throughout the process towards the agreement’s approval and successful implementation.” 

Related: Goodbye NAFTA, hello USMCA

“Trade with Canada and Mexico supported 44 million food and agricultural jobs in 2017 and $44 billion worth of exports of American-grown products,” NASDA president and New Mexico secretary of agriculture Jeff Witte said. “The USMCA will modernize important aspects of our trading relationship and help to better facilitate trade among all three countries. We look forward to working with our Mexican and Canadian counterparts to continuing to strengthen our relationship and advance the agriculture sector across North America.”

Related: INSIDE WASHINGTON: USMCA isn’t a slam dunk

White added, “Beyond talks on the USMCA, we had productive conversations on advancing new agricultural technology and working together on food safety. We also the highlighted the necessity of a focused effort to prepare the next generation of the agricultural workforce, as well as collaboration to improve capacity for pest and disease surveillance, prevention and rapid response.”

The Canada-U.S., Mexico-Canada and Mexico-U.S. working groups also met to discuss their important bilateral trade relationships. Delegates discussed areas of mutual collaboration as well as areas where state and provincial leaders can work together. The Canada-U.S. delegates approved joint statements on USMCA, agricultural biotechnology and food safety. The Mexico-U.S. delegates approved a joint statement on importance of the bilateral relationship and committing to enhanced collaboration. The Canada-Mexico delegates approved a joint statement on USMCA and the importance of trade. 

Related: INSIDE WASHINGTON: USMCA isn’t a slam dunk

The U.S. delegation was led by Witte, the Canadian delegation was led by Manitoba agriculture minister Ralph Eichler and the Mexican delegation was led by Puebla secretary of rural development and sustainability Rodrigo Riestra Piña.

NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government and stakeholders.

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