United States - Canada Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA):
November 19, 2004, Washington, D.C.
Processed Food Product Issues
Other Bilateral/Plurilateral Issues
CCA Wrap Up
1. CCA Business
In their introductory remarks, both delegations expressed the importance of the CCA process as a vehicle for sharing information, avoiding and resolving trade irritants. The agenda (Annex 1) was adopted. List of participants (Annex 2) is attached.
b) PSAG Action Item Review
The United States noted that several of the issues discussed at the Provinces-States Advisory Group’s (PSAG’s) September 2004 annual meeting were also on the CCA agenda. With regards to biotechnology, both countries indicated they had not received any correspondence from the co-chairs of PSAG as indicated in PSAG’s September 2004 report. On pesticide harmonization, both countries were supportive of EPA’s response to the PSAG’s June 2004 letter addressed to the CCA co-chairs, EPA, selected U.S. and Canadian government officials, as well as some members of the U.S. Congress. With regards to invasive species and wine trade/customs issues, both delegations noted that they had not received clarification from the PSAG. On feed standards, both delegations agreed to contact the PSAG for clarification in order to move the issue forward.
2. Livestock/Meat Issues
Bilateral collaboration on cattle health issues
The United States noted that during discussions on the restricted feeder cattle project, both countries had agreed also to discuss other cattle and animal diseases. The United States stated that it was encouraged by the joint bluetongue research conducted by scientists from both countries that has allowed the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to lift the majority of the bluetongue requirements that affect U.S. feeder cattle. The CCA noted the useful dialogue between CFIA and APHIS towards the mutual recognition of the disease status of brucellosis and tuberculosis in order to allow unrestricted movement between like-status regions of both countries. The United States asked whether Canada was required to amend its regulations to allow for the movement of U.S. feeder cattle under the proposed anaplasmosis policy. Canada agreed to provide feedback to the United States. The Canadian delegation also noted that Canada is trying to adopt a regional approach to move trade forward, taking into account concerns with brucellosis and tuberculosis as well as pseudorabies in swine. Canada promised to report on the meetings scheduled for January 2005 on this issue. The United States was pleased with the agreement between APHIS and CFIA to modify the traditionally-used biennial survey approach to one which answers research questions regarding both bluetongue and anaplasmosis. The United States expressed satisfaction at efforts made by the chief veterinary officers of the United States, Canada and Mexico towards harmonization of requirements related to BSE that would allow the development of common SPS measures for North American cattle and bovine products.
Canadian Access to the United States (U.S. rule-making process)
The Canadian delegation expressed concern with the pace of rule-making to resume trade in live cattle and requested that the United States move forward as soon as possible. The delegation also expressed appreciation to the United States for the cooperation between the two countries on this issue, but indicated that the inability to move it forward was pushing us to a point where the integrated North American market was starting to break down. To curtail difficulties faced by the Canadian cattle industry, Canada has started instituting measures that would increase the country’s slaughter capacity. The Canadian delegation indicated that the U.S. ban on live cattle imports from Canada is equally detrimental to the U.S. processing industry and stressed that claims raised by some U.S. industry groups about a "wall of cattle" threatening to flood the U.S. market should the ban be lifted is unfounded due to a lack of cattle back log and an increase in domestic processing capacity.
Regarding the presumptive BSE finding in the United States, the Canadian delegation said it did not receive any prior notice about this case and said it would appreciate an advance notice in the future. In response to questions regarding the rule-making process, the United States said that the rule was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on November 18. Canada noted that its position was that there is no reason for the rule to be designated as a "major rule". The United States asked if Canada has regulations regarding exports of older or reproductive cattle as well as breeder stock, and also if Canada has published a full risk assessment on BSE. Canada responded that it is reviewing import policies for live animals and meat based on science and that the on-going assessment will go beyond products currently allowed into Canada. Canada committed to provide the United States with a website address for additional information.
ii) U.S. position on access for Canadian cattle to Mexico
Canada expressed concern about the U.S. position that Mexico’s risk status could change if Mexico, which has never reported a case of BSE, imports Canadian live cattle. The U.S. delegation noted that once the rule was implemented, the issue would be dealt with for live animals for slaughter, though breeding stock would remain a problem.
Regulatory amendment updates (including feed)
Canada requested an update on this issue and asked if the rules will be notified to the WTO. The United States indicated that the comment period for an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) that would address the removal of ruminant products has closed and that the USDA and FDA are reviewing submitted comments. The United States will notify the WTO when a proposed rule is published.
Third country market access
Both countries provided updates on their access to third country markets as a result of the BSE outbreaks in both countries, and agreed to share information and continue to work towards an integrated North American market.
c) Proposed ban on the use of carbadox in Canadian swine production
Canada informed the United States that it intends to propose regulations in early 2005 that would prohibit the sale of carbadox and ban its use in the production of swine. This would be consistent with Codex. Canada is proposing this ban because of food safety, human health and environmental concerns. Canada promised to share information as it moves forward and noted that the effective date of the new regulations would likely not be before late 2005. The ban would be effective on promulgation and would not be phased in. FDA acknowledged that the rest of the world has either banned or is intending to ban the use of carbadox, and that it was reviewing its options. FDA noted that the United States would cooperate with Canada to ensure that this proceeded as seamlessly as possible.
Health Canada undertook to make available a copy of the risk assessment on request.
d) Update on avian influenza
In its presentation, the Canadian delegation indicated that the last avian influenza (AI) outbreak in Canada was in late May 2004 and that depopulation of the affected areas has been completed. In August, Canada met the OIE criteria and is currently considered free of AI. Both countries noted that the trade implications and approaches adopted during the AI outbreaks were similar to the approaches adopted during the BSE outbreaks. Status of trade with third country markets was also discussed. Canada noted its appreciation for the quick action by the United States to re-establish trade, and further noted that 9 other partners (including the EU) had removed the trade ban on BC and another 4 had removed their ban against all of Canada. The United States suggested that both countries could use the APEC taskforce meetings to further educate other APEC countries about the importance of resuming trade.
3. Plant issues
Canadian bulk shipment requirements
The United States expressed appreciation to Canada for entering into negotiations on their requirements for bulk shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables and said negotiations were covering a range of options. Both sides agreed it was important to continue negotiations and to find a solution.
The United States reported that USDA and CFIA look forward to resolving issues related to accepting seed tags in lieu of certificates at the March 2005 CFIA/APHIS bilateral so it could be announced at the April 2005 PSAG meeting.
The United States requested an update on a September 2004 notification to
U.S. officials about a shipment of grain from Montana that was denied entry into
Canada because it did not possess an original phytosanitary certification for
each individual load. The Canadian delegation indicated that Canada was working
on this issue. Both countries agreed that this needed to be resolved and hoped
to deal with this issue at the March 2005 CFIA/APHIS bilateral meeting.
Seed certification laboratory accreditation
The United States reported on the November 8-9, 2004, meetings held in Ottawa, when the United States officially presented its seed laboratory verification program to Canadian officials. The United States indicated substantial progress was made at these meetings, and requested quick action on Canada’s formal review and recognition of the U.S. seed lab accreditation program. Canada promised to review the U.S. program documentation within the next 2-5 months, and agreed to aim for granting formal recognition before the April 2005 PSAG meeting.
Country of Origin Labelling (COOL)
Canada indicated that it would be supplying comments on the interim final rule. Canada indicated concern with regard to links made between COOL and food safety. The United States agreed that COOL was not a food safety rule.
Update on Canada’s implementation of the WTO ruling regarding Canadian wheat regulations
Responding to a U.S. request for an update, Canada said a proposal to change Canada’s requirements would be completed by late November 2004 and then submitted to the Canadian Cabinet. If approved by Cabinet, this would be followed by draft legislation to be passed by Parliament. Canada indicated that the new rules will comply with the WTO decision and should be in place by the agreed upon deadline of August 1, 2005. Both countries agreed to maintain a transparent relationship during implementation of the WTO ruling, including discussions on Canada’s grain transportation revenue cap and grading system.
4. Processed Food Product Issues
a) Nutritional labeling
The United States recounted the bilateral discussions held on this issue in May 2004. Canada informed participants that implementation of the new nutritional labeling requirements are on track and that the regulatory changes will be published in the Canada Gazette in 2005 for public comment. The United States noted recent progress at the April 2004 NAFTA Food Labeling, Packaging and Standards Technical Working Group (TWG) where both countries agreed to work together to publish simultaneous joint public notices to seek comments on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) study on the "Guiding Principles for Nutrition Labeling and Fortification: Use of Dietary Intakes in Nutrition Labeling" which could eventually lead to a harmonized nutrition label. The next NAFTA Food Labeling TWG is scheduled for the first half of 2005 and both countries expressed interest in continued progress reports on the work under way to move towards a harmonized nutrition label.
b) Canadian highlighted ingredients policies
The United States requested an update on Canada’s consultations with stakeholders on this issue as well as the status of the proposed changes to its regulations. Canada responded that the current proposal is on hold and no further consultations are planned. CFIA is assessing other measures which may be taken which provide for a similar outcome.
c) Container sizes for processed infant foods in Canada
The United States expressed concern that current Canadian restrictions on container sizes for processed infant food appear to be a technical barrier to trade and requested an update on this issue. Canada responded that there is an on-going analysis to determine whether this issue should be dealt with separately from the overall amendment on container sizes and that all regulatory amendments will be notified to the WTO. The United States called for the complete elimination of all container size regulations as well as updates on this issue.
d) New Canadian policy on fortified foods, including breakfast cereals
The United States requested an update on Canada’s proposed policy on food fortification. Canada stated that its recommendations are based on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report and that the proposed policy, to be published in Canada Gazette 1 by Spring 2005, would allow fortification for all food products. According to Canada, all stakeholders can submit comments prior to the publication. On breakfast cereals, Canada said specific regulations, which are higher than current regulations, would be maintained with many of the regulations similar to those in the United States. Regarding the definition of net carbohydrates, Canada said there will be no changes to current labels. Both countries agreed that the net carbohydrates issue is a new development. The United States suggested, and Canada agreed, that the nutritional labeling sub-group of the NAFTA Food Labeling, Packaging and Standards Technical Working Group could follow up on this issue and provide updates to the CCA.
e) Canadian access to U.S. refined sugar tariff-rate quota (TRQ)
Canada expressed concern about "unauthorized" exports of refined sugar entering the United States against Canada’s portion of the refined sugar TRQ. The U.S. Customs Service agreed to work with Canada to ascertain origin of specific entries. In addition,
upon Canada’s request, the United States provided information about Certificates for Quota Eligibility (CQE).
5. Other Bilateral/Plurilateral Issues
i) WTO case regarding the European Union’s (EU’s) biotechnology moratorium
Both countries provided updates on the U.S./Canada/Argentina WTO case against the EU’s approval for biotech products and stressed the need for cooperation as this case moves forward. Canada noted that although the EU had approved one variety of corn, an approach to approvals on a sustained basis would be needed before it is possible to consider that the system is working.
ii) EU’s new rules on traceability and labeling
The United States and Canada exchanged updates, particularly as they relate to compliance/non-compliance, EU’s enforcement plans as well as plans and policies by Member States regarding coexistence of biotech and non-biotech field crops.
iii) EU hormones ban
Both delegations discussed the November 8, 2004, request by the EU for WTO consultations as well as the impact, if any, of EU enlargement on this issue. Canada indicated that it responded as third party to the EU request on November 17. Both countries expressed satisfaction with their close cooperation on this issue.
ii) U.S.-Canada biotech and activity related to the Biosafety Protocol
The United States appreciated the positive collaboration with Canada on biotech issues, including Canada’s role as a co-complainant in the EU WTO case, and provided an update on the three intercessional meetings on the biosafety protocol. Canada also provided an update on the biotech-related meetings held with representatives from Africa, South America, Asia and Mexico and stated that Canada is working on marketing, documentation regulations and environmental concerns in addition to regulatory issues related to the biosafety protocol. Both delegations agreed to exchange information on Argentina’s move towards ratification.
iii) North American Biotech Initiative (NABI)
Canada noted the successful meeting held in September 2004 in Quebec City and stated that minutes from the meeting are being finalized. According to Canada, a suggestion was made at the meeting to form a working group that would focus on communication issues. Also discussed was how to reach out to South American countries, especially those in the Southern Cone, as well as the need to have an IICA representative at the next NABI meeting to serve as a link between NABI and the Southern Cone. In response to Mexico’s request for capacity building, in January 2005, the three NAFTA countries agreed to conduct a workshop in Mexico. Mexico also plans to host a meeting on intellectual property and technology transfer in 2005. The United States thanked Canada for its leadership role, guidance and assistance in making the NABI a successful venture for collaboration among the three NAFTA countries on biotechnology. The United States also said that the close partnership between the two countries is what has made the NABI model so successful, such that other countries in South America are considering similar initiatives. The United States also reported that some IICA members have expressed interest and willingness to serve as trainers in other countries outside the southern cone and promised to assist in the identification of these members. Canada reinforced the usefulness of NABI with regards to marketing, research and regulations.
iii) North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC) report on Mexico maize
The United States and Canada discussed the NAFTA Secretariat’s issuance of its final report "Maize and Biodiversity: The Effects of Transgenic Maize in Mexico" on November 8, 2004, with comments from the three Parties. The United States and Canada both expressed concerns about the process used to conduct and release the maize study, and both will consider raising the issue at the next NABI meeting. Canada noted that this issue would be on the upcoming agenda of NAFTA deputies.
i) Presentation regarding CPB-AQI/USDA/FDA mandates, responsibilities, resources
Canada expressed industry concerns about U.S. border management and requested information on changes that have taken place since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as border management responsibilities of USDA’s Animal Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Representatives from DHS, FDA and APHIS responded to Canada’s questions and provided participants with information on interagency border coordination.
d) FDA Bioterrorism Act Implementation
Canada noted its appreciation for FDA taking the time to explain the new regulations and reiterated its support for the objectives of the Bioterrorism Act, but expressed concerns that the Prior Notice Rule has resulted in prohibitive costs for businesses involved in low value and direct delivery shipments, especially personal shipments and those in the dietary supplement and gift basket industries. Canada suggested an interim solution modeled after transshipped grocery trucks destined for Campabello Island and said Canada is willing to provide information about options. The United States responded that it has worked hard to minimize trade disruptions from the Bioterrorism Act and encouraged Canada to work with FDA to resolve any problems that may arise.
e) U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)
Canada expressed concerns about implementation of the country of origin rules, particularly changes to seafood and fish, and promised to submit comments. The United States invited Canada to comment on the interim final rule and affirmed that COOL is not a food safety regulation.
6. CCA Wrap Up
a) Report to PSAG at the next Tri-National Agricultural Accord meeting scheduled for April 13-16, 2005, in Sacramento, CA
A joint report on the May and November 2004, as well as the Spring 2005 CCA meetings will be presented to the PSAG by the CCA co-chairs at the April 13-16, Tri-National Accord meeting in Sacramento, California.
b) Next Meeting
The next meeting is tentatively scheduled to take place on the margins of the April 2005 Tri-National Accord meeting in Sacramento, California.
Canadian Delegation List
|Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Trade Policy I: General Trade Policy Bureau
Technical Barriers to Trade Division
Agriculture and Fisheries Counselor
Canadian Embassy in Washington
Canadian Embassy in Washington
Economic and Trade Policy Section
Commercial Officer (Market Access)
Senior Trade Policy Officer
Technical Barriers to Trade Division
Canadian Food Inspection
|Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
International Trade Policy Directorate
International Trade Policy Directorate
Senior Trade Policy Analyst
International Trade Policy Directorate
Senior Trade Policy Analyst
International Trade Policy Directorate
Veterinary Drugs Directorate
Bureau of Nutritional Sciences Food Directorate
* By teleconference
Foreign Agricultural Service
Patricia R. Sheikh
U.S. Trade Representative
***Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Dr. Walter Batts (Bioterrorism)
Dr. Richard Ellis
Agricultural Marketing Service
Connie. M. Williams
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Roger F. West
U.S. Department of Commerce