WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES--(Marketwire -02/24/12)- Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz concluded a productive trade mission to the United States, which included meetings with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and livestock, grains and oilseed industry representatives to find new ways to work together to benefit our integrated agriculture industry and economy.
"As each other's largest trading partner, we need to continue working together to make sure trade can move at the speed of commerce and benefits the agriculture industry on both sides of the border," said Minister Ritz. "Like never before, the flow of agriculture trade is essential to our economic growth."
Minister Ritz focused on the importance of maintaining a science-based approach to trade and agreed to collaborate internationally to promote innovation and biotechnology as vital tools to ensure global food security. Both countries agreed to continue working together to improve productivity and competitiveness for the sector.
Building on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama's recently announced Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Joint Action Plan and the Beyond the Border initiative, Minister Ritz reinforced Canada's commitment to streamline regulations. By removing red tape and duplication, it will be easier for companies on both sides of the border to do business and increase North America's global competitiveness.
U.S. processors rely heavily on the integrated North American livestock industry and the Government of Canada is working closely with Canadian producers and processors to improve market access. Following Canada's victory at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Panel on mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (mCOOL), Minister Ritz once again raised the issue with Secretary Vilsack and the U.S. livestock industry. Canada underlined the need for the U.S. to implement the changes required to comply with the WTO panel decision and end the restrictive nature of mCOOL as soon as possible.
Minister Ritz also took the opportunity to promote Canada's world-class wheat and barley to North American grain importers and exporters and reaffirmed that with marketing freedom Canada will continue to grow high-quality wheat and barley.
Every year, $33 billion in agricultural trade crosses the Canada-U.S. border.