Keeping trade ties strong the theme of Tri-National Agricultural Accord conference in Saskatoon

Maintaining strong agricultural trade ties in North America the main purpose of the Tri-National Agricultural Accord.

Politicians and trade officials from Canada, the United States, and Mexico were in Saskatoon this week for the 32nd annual Tri-National Accord conference.

It is an opportunity to plan for any potential future emergencies – such as African Swine Fever, as well as discussions on science-based trade and improving cross-border trade harmonization.

“Lots of animals cross those borders every single day between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico pretty regularly, and as we see things like African Swine Fever that has moved its way across the world, and deciding how can we make certain we are as prepared as possible for any disease that might impact us,” said the head of the US delegation, Blayne Arthur, who is Oklahoma’s Secretary of Agriculture.

An agricultural official from Virginia said North America is the “best neighborhood” on earth, notwithstanding the occasional trade difference.

Alberta Agriculture Minister RJ Sigurdson appreciated sessions with representatives from United States, Mexico, as well as the agricultural sector.

“We know the importance of food and food security in our agricultural sector and what it means to our entire country,” Sigurdson said. “I really appreciate those frank conversations because it really provides us that honest opinion so that we know what we need to do as a government to be able to support, aid, and sometimes get out of the way of industry so they can do what they do best.”

Mac Ross, Pulse Canada’s Director of Market Access and Trade Policy, says they had “really fruitful sessions” with each delegation throughout the two days.

“We’re here representing the growers, the ranchers, the processors, exporters, life-science companies, those who know first hand the benefits of this highly integrated supply chain across this continent and can really speak to those benefits, also to the improvements that are needed to make that even stronger,” Ross said.

“It was the first time that industry was actually invited to a Tri-National Accord meeting so that’s really important,” said Dale Leftwich, policy manager for SaskCanola. “You can start to talk about things that may become issues in the future and really figure out ways to smooth the waters so-to-speak before they start to become hurricanes.”

Representatives from Mexico, 22 U.S. states, and several provinces from Quebec to Alberta were in Saskatoon for the Tri-National Agricultural Accord which wrapped up on Wednesday.

Next year’s meetings are scheduled to be in Virginia.

(With files from CJWW)

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