Members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and their counterparts in Mexico and Canada earlier this month concluded a two-day agricultural trade summit in Chicago as part of the 23rd Annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord.
The Tri-National Agricultural Accord represents a commitment of officials from the three countries to work together collaboratively on agricultural trade and development issues.
The U.S. Delegation was led by Greg Ibach of Nebraska, NASDA's Vice President and Chairman of the Marketing & International Trade Committee. The Mexican Delegation was led by Ing. Manuel Valdés Rodríguez, Secretary of Agricultural Development of the State of Querétaro. The Canadian Delegation was led by Minister Ron Kostyshyn, head of the Manitoba Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.
"Canada and Mexico are two of our top trade partners, and our three countries collectively are a key trading region for the world. Because of this, ongoing discussion and collaboration with these partners is essential for American agriculture export success," Ibach said.
Key issues discussed included transportation, pollinators, biotechnology, Country of Origin Labeling, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, and food safety.
Ibach said the delegates agreed to a joint statement that encourages expeditious action on COOL, once a final decision is published in a case filed with the World Trade Organization by Canada and Mexico against the United States.
Ibach also met one-on-one with Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on the subject, the Nebraska Department of Ag said.
In addition to COOL discussion, the countries encouraged their federal animal health agencies to formalize plans to allow for "regionalization" in the event of an animal health incident.
"With a well-developed plan in place, we can continue trade activities among the countries during an animal health event without harm to the collective North American herd," Ibach said.
Regarding biotechnology, the delegates agreed to work together, with their federal counterparts, on trade policy that recognizes the essential role of genetically modified crops in the world marketplace, Ibach said.
A communiqué signed by all three delegation leads, as well as several letters, outline the areas of agreement on specific subjects and define the areas for action for the coming year. The documents will be shared with federal agriculture officials from each country.
The Tri-National Agricultural Accord is hosted by one of the three countries each year. The 2015 Tri-National Agricultural Accord will be held in Mexico.