Canada-United States Consultative Committee on Agriculture
March 22, 2002
The Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA) has agreed that it will continue to work to maintain an open and dynamic trading relationship between the two countries given that agricultural and agri-food products comprise an important component of our vibrant and mutually beneficial bilateral trading relationship. The CCA will also continue to act as an effective early-warning system for issues arising in bilateral trade and work to resolve agricultural issues that affect our trade in an expeditious manner.
The CCA will consider items that either the United States or Canada places on the agenda related to trade in livestock; meat and meat products; dairy; grain; horticulture; food products; and other agricultural or agri-food products. Such agenda items could cover new or unexpected developments as well as updates on ongoing activities. In this way, the CCA will ensure that potential difficulties are addressed at an early stage, before they become trade irritants. In participating in the CCA activities, both countries regulatory agencies will continue to maintain the highest standards in the world for the protection of human, plant and animal health and safety, and will work together to increase confidence in the effectiveness of the measures each maintains to achieve their respective goals. In its work, the CCA will strive to promote the further integration of the North American market.
Maintaining Close Links with the Province State Advisory Group
The Canadian provinces and American states have established the Province State Advisory Group (PSAG) with the encouragement of the two federal governments. The Canadian and U.S. federal governments value the cooperation that has developed between the CCA and the PSAG. The CCA will continue to inform the PSAG of CCA's activities and welcome PSAG's advice.
In particular, the CCA will consider the following ongoing matters:
Cooperating on Bilateral, Regional and Global Agricultural Trade-Related Issues
Canada and the United States are committed to achieving substantial progress in freeing trade through global and regional trade negotiations. Their positions include a number of common objectives such as: significantly improved market access opportunities, reductions in trade-distorting domestic support and the elimination of export subsidies, and regional harmonization work with Mexico. Canada and the U.S. will maintain an ongoing dialogue, through the CCA as necessary, on how best to achieve these objectives.
Both countries recognize that national agricultural policies can and do influence production and trade. Accordingly, Canadian and U.S. officials will review, in the CCA as appropriate, current and prospective policy developments that could affect the other country interests in bilateral or global trade with a view to improving their understanding of developments.
Regulatory Issues that Impact on Trade
The Canadian and U.S. delegations will each, prior to a meeting of the CCA, propose items that could usefully be addressed by the Committee in light of regulatory developments including, in particular, their anticipated or actual effects on bilateral trade. The CCA should also keep itself informed of developments related to regulatory measures with the aim of facilitating cross-border trade of agricultural and agri-food products.
As previously discussed by the CCA, for example, Canada and the United States expect that:
- with respect to veterinary drugs:
Officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will review the most recent version of the comparison of Maximum Residue Levels prepared by Health Canada to ensure accuracy. Health Canada will further revise its portion of the table as additional regulatory amendments are published in the Canada Gazette Parts I or II. The side-by-side comparison would be released publicly once both organizations have completed their revisions.
With a view to encouraging further harmonization, Canadian and U.S. officials will work with their Mexican counterparts to re-activate the NAFTA Technical Working Group on Veterinary Drugs and Feeds, including, in particular, (a) to identify their respective lead officials and participants, (b) to agree on terms of reference, and (c) to schedule a TWG meeting.
- with respect to cereal fortification:
Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will inform the CCA of progress being made with respect to the research work they have jointly commissioned on this issue.
- with respect to food labeling:
The CCA also recognizes the ongoing work under the NAFTA Technical Working Group on Food Packaging, Labeling and Food Standards and its sub-group on Nutrition Labeling and Claims. The CCA welcomes officials from the United States and Canada to continue to keep it informed of progress being made towards greater harmonization of their respective nutritional labeling requirements as well as other discussions of relevance to the CCA that arise in these fora.
Canada and the U.S. encourage industry representatives to cooperate with appropriate government agencies to develop a common approach to promoting the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
- with respect to livestock and livestock products issues:
The U.S. will complete its deregulation of requirements for live horses as soon as possible.
Canada will continue to expeditiously review U.S. requests for year round access under the restricted feeder cattle program.
With a view towards promoting the integration of the North American meat industry to the benefit of both Canada and the United States, the CCA will keep country of origin labeling proposals under review.
- with respect to pesticides:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency will continue to work together with industry stakeholders, including agricultural producers, to harmonize their product approval requirements. The focus of their work will be to implement the program of activities agreed to by the NAFTA Technical Working Group on Pesticides. Both agencies will keep the CCA informed of the progress being made towards greater harmonization of their product approval processes.
- with respect to the products of biotechnology:
Canadian and U.S. officials will continue to meet to discuss cooperation on bilateral and multilateral biotechnology issues. Canada and the United States will continue to work closely in areas relating to biosafety, including the U.N. Biosafety Protocol. Canada and the United States share common views on the subject of biotechnology in both the Sanitary and Phytosanitary and the Technical Barriers to Trade Committees of the World Trade Organization. In addition, both countries will work together within other international bodies to promote a science-based approach to regulating biotechnology, including capacity-building.
Encouraging Joint Industry Committees
Canada and the United States are committed to encouraging the establishment of joint industry committees to engage in a similar cross-border dialogue to increase mutual understanding and support the resolution of differences through consultation and discussion. The CCA has received useful advice from the potato industry and is aware of a number of other exchanges between U.S. and Canadian producers or processors of livestock, cereals and oilseeds. The CCA will consider how best to encourage these groups, whether formal or informal, to develop joint views on issues of interest to them and to inform the CCA of their views on how to improve bilateral as well as global trade in their products. In particular, the CCA welcomes joint industry proposals to facilitate bilateral trade, and will give careful consideration to any such proposals. The substance of any regulatory proposals that might be received in this way will be dealt with through the normal regulatory processes in each country in accordance with each country's obligations to base decisions on science.
The CCA continues to encourage joint bilateral industry groups to inform the CCA of their views on trade issues, particularly those that affect bilateral trade.
The CCA will continue to meet semi-annually to address key issues. Canadian and U.S. officials will continue to meet quarterly to review grains issues, as set out in the December 1998 bilateral Record of Understanding on Agricultural Trade. In that context, U.S. and Canadian officials will begin consultations as soon as possible seeking ways to improve conditions affecting trade in wheat. Both countries will continue to publish their quarterly grains trade projections, and will also post these projections on their respective web sites. They will also work together, as well as with their respective statistical and Customs agencies, to improve bilateral trade data in order to ensure that products transiting through one or the other country are not counted as part of bilateral trade.