WHERE DOES CANADA GO FROM HERE IN NAFTA NEGOTIATIONS?

WHERE DOES CANADA GO FROM HERE IN NAFTA NEGOTIATIONS?

on September 24 | in Ag News | by | with Comments Off on WHERE DOES CANADA GO FROM HERE IN NAFTA NEGOTIATIONS?

Ontario Federation of Agriculture Commentary

By Keith Currie, OFA President

Canadian agriculture and our trading opportunities are in a very precarious position as trade negotiations between Mexico and the U.S. appear to be moving forward. It’s an extremely unfortunate situation for our industry and our country, as Mexico appears to have caved under the undoubtedly heavy-handed approach of the U.S. These latest negotiations excluded Canada – even though we are a much more significant trading partner.

For the past many months, Canada has been at the table in an attempt to negotiate a new trilateral trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico – to replace the 24-year old North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that U.S. President Trump believes is grossly unfair…only for Americans.

Mexico and the U.S. have recently agreed in principle to a new bilateral U.S./Mexico Free Trade Agreement. The basic content of the agreement was released in statements this past week by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The deal is far from done but the fundamentals are there.

The vaguely worded agreement includes new provisions between the U.S. and Mexico that cover trade in several manufacturing sectors, and its release included a document entitled “Strengthening NAFTA for Agriculture” that states “while agriculture has generally performed well under NAFTA, important improvements in the agreement will enable food and agriculture to trade more fairly.”

These are the details that catch the attention of Canadian negotiators as they scramble to understand the deal to determine if the terms are acceptable to Canada as part of a new NAFTA framework. Canadian trade interests will also need to be incorporated.

For the first time, the U.S./Mexico agreement specifically addresses agricultural biotechnology – with the two countries agreeing to enhance information exchange and cooperate on ag biotech trade-related matters. Another first is an agreement by the U.S. to not restrict market access in Mexico for ce