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David Sparks Ph.d Canada and NAFTA
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: July 31, 2017

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Canada’s Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAuley recently visited the Northwest with words of hope and caution as his country, the US, and Mexico move towards discussing NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement:

MacAuley discussed the importance of keeping intact the positive trade relationship that has benefitted from NAFTA for farmers on both sides of the border and says trade between Canada and the US has soared in the past 23 years:

“It’s just under $50 billion, a lot of money. It’s also important to know that since NAFTA has come into play, it has quadrupled and we want to make sure it continues to grow.”

With NAFTA soon scheduled for renegotiation between the US, Canada, and Mexico, MacAuley urges caution:

“Well, of course, I listen to farmers. In fact, I listen to farmers on both sides of the border. Sure, there are a little issues. But the point is, I think the agricultural sector is quite concerned that we don’t do anything that will cause any difficulty in the agricultural sector. We want to make sure that the trade flows freely and continues to expand like it has over the last just under quarter of a century.”

Canada is Oregon's second leading export market for agriculture, trailing only Japan, with $358 million in Oregon ag products going north of the US border in 2015. ODA Director Taylor and other state officials will keep a close eye on the NAFTA renegotiations with hopes that the trade ties between Oregon and Canada will remain strong.

MACAULEY admits after 23 years, NAFTA could improve with some small changes. But he urges caution in the renegotiation of the trade agreement: “I think when you look at the agricultural sector and talk to the producers on both sides of the border here, in Canada and the US, there is a concern, a great concern, that we do it properly to make sure that what’s fixed, don’t break it.” :16

MACAULEY used an example of a hamburger to illustrate how the three NAFTA countries’ agriculture work together:

“The meat could be produced in Western Canada, on the prairie. The bread could be made here, and the tomatoes could come from Mexico. That’s just simply what NAFTA is all about.”

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