Canada-U.S. Agriculture Trade: Context On This Week’s Critical Letter from U.S. Congressional Reps

Huffington Post Canada reports on a letter penned by 140 U.S. Congressional representatives hitting protectionist Japanese and Canadian agricultural trade policies.  Concerns over U.S. access to the Canadian agricultural sector make sense, since $41.7 billion in agriculture and agri-food was traded between Canada and the United States in 2012 alone.

But this point of bilateral tension becomes even more important as talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are dove-tailing with the European Union and Canada finalizing their own trade pact, CETA.  Unsurprisingly, agriculturally issues were a thorny part of CETA negotiations.

But, before getting too down on Canada’s agricultural trade policies with the United States, keep in mind Canada-U.S. agriculture trade in 2012 was up 25% from 2010, 151% from 2000, and 317% from 1993 (pre-NAFTA).  

Yes, as with most complicated policy areas, more can be done in both the United States and Canada to foster liberalized trade–whether within or beyond the agricultural sector.  

But the Canada-U.S. agricultural trade relationship is robust.  And the bilateral relationship has consistently displayed how two nations can settle disputes peacefully and work progressively towards mutually beneficial trade relationships.

And, even more encouraging, is the commitment of Canada and the United States to focus on regulatory cooperation in various trade sectors.  While standardizing regulatory terminology for wholesale cuts of meat won’t trade headlines like CETA news or critical Congressional letters, it’s progress of these issues that will keep the Canadian and American marketplaces competitive throughout the 21st century.

 

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