Canada-U.S. Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA)
July 28, 2000
The CCA co-chairs called the meeting to order and adopted the agenda (Annex 1). A list of attendees is attached (Annex 2).
The Co-chairs expressed their pleasure that the Committee was able to come to Saskatoon for its third meeting, and extended their thanks to the Saskatchewan Department of Agriculture and Food for help in organizing the facilities for the meeting. The Co-chairs appreciated the opportunity to meet with the Provinces/States Advisory Group (PSAG) prior to the CCA meeting, so as to receive more complete information about the activities of the PSAG since the latter's March meeting.
Grain and Feed Issues
The U.S. delegation reported that the May 24, 2000 consultations included discussions of policy developments, and the exchange of updated trade projections. The latter are posted on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and USDA Foreign Agricultural Service websites. It was noted that the first projections for the 2000-2001 Canadian and U.S. crop years would be developed at the end of August and would be discussed at the next quarterly consultations scheduled for August 29.
The Canadian delegation reported that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has completed its review of USDA's 1999 National Karnal Bunt Monitoring Plan. A draft amended directive recognizing second-tier states as Karnal bunt-free has been circulated for comment; an amended directive is expected to be in place before the end of this year.
The U.S. delegation sought clarification of Canadian policy on fortification of breakfast cereals. Dr. L'Abbé, Health Canada, explained the scientific review being conducted by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences to determine nutrient requirements. The review is addressing both Recommended Dietary Allowances and Upper Levels for nutrients. Canada's revised policy on food fortification will take into account the NAS findings. It was proposed that once the NAS concludes its study the results should be discussed at the NAFTA Technical Working Group on Food Packaging, Labelling and Food Standards. In addition, it was agreed that future meetings of the CCA be used to review progress that is being made on this issue.
The U.S. delegation noted that it was concerned with the complaint filed by the Manitoba Corn Growers Association regarding imports of U.S. corn into Western Canada. The U.S. delegation noted that it would take up the possibility of consulting with the Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) on this matter.
The Canadian delegation noted that it had received extensive comments on its proposed animal health regionalisation regulation, that these comments are being considered and that CFIA is on track to complete the regulations by the first quarter of 2001, as set out in the December 4, 1998 Canada-United States Record of Understanding on Agricultural Trade (ROU).
The Canadian delegation noted that some shipments of U.S. live swine had entered Canada for slaughter under new import regulations. Canada reported that it had requested Australia to modify its animal health requirements so as to remove the restrictions on Canadian establishments handling U.S. swine. It was noted that, as a result, Australia removed certain restrictions on Canadian establishments.
The Canadian delegation reiterated its concerns about North Dakota House Bill 1276 and the proposed North Dakota implementation rules. Canadian officials noted that they would observe the oral hearing scheduled for Bismarck on August 17 and would submit written comments prior to the September 19 deadline. The Canadian delegation stated that it expects that North Dakota would enact rules that would be consistent with U.S. NAFTA and WTO obligations. If such is not the case Canada would pursue its trade agreement rights.
The Canadian delegation referred
to the country of origin labeling legislation adopted by the state of Wyoming,
and distributed copies of the proposed implementation rules. The Canadian
delegation expressed deep concern with this development which it believes,
The Canadian delegation expressed strong disappointment with news of USDA's recent announcement on grading of imported beef carcasses, and sought further information. The Canadian delegation noted that these proposals also appear to be moving the U.S. towards the de-integration of the North American beef market just after Canada had brought itself fully into line with the current USDA approach on grading. The U.S. delegation noted that the proposed rules would be published in the near future and would be subject to a 90-day comment period.
The Canadian delegation asked when the new rules on equine semen would be enacted. The U.S. delegation indicated that it expected the final rules would be issued by early fall.
The Canadian delegation asked about the timing of the USA's commitment to implement revised live horse inspection rules. The U.S. delegation indicated their understanding that USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was awaiting additional information from CFIA, and would proceed quickly thereafter.
The Canadian and U.S. delegations were pleased to note the progress of the New World Wine Producers (NWWP) group and the extent of cooperation between the two countries on international wine recognition issues. On bilateral issues, the U.S. delegation asked about certain Canadian package size requirements. The Canadian delegation undertook to examine the issue.
Both delegations noted the positive meeting between Health and Human Services Secretary Shalala and Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Vanclief in Washington in mid-July. The delegations were encouraged by the work previously undertaken in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to resolve unwanted trade-inhibiting effects of certain food safety inspections. The delegations expressed their confidence that significant progress would be made on this issue by November 1, 2000 based on the scientific work currently under way in both agencies.
Both delegations noted that the CCA's response to the Canada-U.S. Ad-Hoc Potato Committee (AHPC) report had been finalized and sent to the co-chairs of the AHPC. The delegations agreed that it would also be provided to the PSAG through the respective federal governments.
The U.S. delegation had no new developments to report on the issue of import licencing for Canadian sugar-containing products.
Veterinary drug / Pesticides Issues
The two delegations noted that the second meeting of the North American Market for Pesticides had been held in Ottawa on April 14, and that a third meeting is being planned for the spring of 2001 in the United States. It was noted that good progress is being made on the harmonization of pesticide regulatory approaches (e.g., joint registration processes) but that additional work remains to be done.
The United States reported that the side-by-side veterinary drug comparison has been completed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada, and noted that there appears to be a high degree of harmonization. Both delegations agreed that the side-by-side comparison will be made available to the public once Health Canada completes its regulatory process, which will formalize existing administrative policies.
The U.S. noted its concern with proposed provincial dairy export regimes which the U.S. believes mirror those struck down by the World Trade Organization (WTO). In response, the Canadian delegation reported that they believe that Canada is bringing its dairy export practices fully in line with its WTO obligations, in the time frames that had previously been agreed to by the U.S. and New Zealand.
Canada reiterated the importance it attaches to the successful conclusion of the export credit negotiations being conducted under the aegis of the OECD and indicated its disappointment that the most recent OECD meeting had made little progress. The U.S. delegation responded that it had informally tabled a new proposal in the July OECD meeting which would mean serious new disciplines on the operation of USDA's GSM program. The U.S. delegation added that its position on reporting requirements constituted a critical element of the negotiation.
The Canadian delegation noted that, during the recent bilateral, Minister Vanclief and Secretary Glickman agreed that a technical meeting between Canadian and U.S. officials be held to review and compare domestic support calculations. It was also noted that the meeting could develop a response to the PSAG request with respect to information about support to the cattle and sheep sectors. It was suggested that OECD Producer Subsidy Equivalent (PSE) data would form the basis for the response to the PSAG request. The two delegations agreed that such a meeting should be organized in the coming weeks.
The U.S. delegation noted the importance of harmonizing activities related to nutritional labeling and both sides agreed to make the activities of the NAFTA Technical Working Group on Food Packaging, Labelling and Food Standards a priority.
The Canadian delegation noted that the recent tariff re-classification of breaded cheese sticks by U.S. Customs effectively prohibited Canada's access for this product to the U.S. It was also noted that this product had been re-classified in Canada but that Canada continued to permit access through the use of supplemental permits. The U.S. delegation stated that the product had been correctly reclassified as a cheese product and therefore subject to the U.S. tariff-rate quota for cheese, but agreed to look into the matter to see what could be done.
The Canadian delegation expressed its concern about what it considered to be inadequate U.S. food aid notifications and consultations in the CSSD, most recently with respect to transactions in Morocco. The Canadian delegation noted that Canadian producers are increasing pressures on the government on this matter to ensure that U.S. food aid not be directed to commercial markets where it has the potential to distort trade. The U.S. noted that the food aid program had been properly notified to all partners, however agreed to provide additional information to Canada on the situation in Morocco.
The Canadian delegation requested clarification and information from the U.S. with respect to the U.S. Market Access Program support for the promotion of branded products in Canada.
The U.S. delegation asked about the possibility of some kind of transitional arrangement for the recognition of U.S. seed certification laboratories, as had been suggested by Idaho at the PSAG meeting. The Canadian delegation indicated it would consider the request.
The two delegations discussed current and prospective developments related to international biotechnology issues.
Both delegations agreed that they will improve and streamline communications between themselves, with the PSAG and to encourage greater cross-border collaboration between producer/industry associations. The CCA also undertook to prepare in short order a written response to the PSAG co-chairs' letter of April 11. Each delegation will follow up with its national PSAG coordinating institution.
The CCA decided to create a working group on communications: USDA/FAS/International Trade Policy will lead on the U.S. side and DFAIT/Market Access Division will lead on the Canadian side.
The CCA noted it will prepare an end-of-year progress report of activities under the ROU.
The CCA noted that NASDA had expressed an interest in a CCA/PSAG meeting at the time of the next semi-annual meeting of the NASDA scheduled to be held in Washington in March 2001.
The CCA agreed that the next meeting would occur in the U.S., the date to be established by the four co-chairs. The CCA also noted there was a suggestion that the CCA meeting be held in the northwestern U.S., and that a meeting outside of capitals seemed desirable.