Canadian agri-food exporters press for positive outcome in NAFTA negotiations
The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) today welcomed the progress made during the latest round of NAFTA negotiations and urged the federal government to continue working to reach a modernized agreement that will increase market access for the nation’s farm and food products.
"We agree with Minister Freeland when she says we’re looking for a new and improved NAFTA that is a win-win-win,” says CAFTA President Brian Innes. “No one knows NAFTA better than the farmers, ranchers and agri-food exporters who rely on the agreement day in and day out for their livelihoods.”
NAFTA has been very good for agri-food trade in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, which has quadrupled over the life of the agreement to more than $90 billion annually.
Canada exported almost $56 billion in agriculture and agri-food products in 2016. Quebec, where negotiations were held, exported $8.2 billion in agri-food products in 2016.
During the negotiations, CAFTA hosted several events with American and Mexican counterparts including a roundtable with government representatives and a news conference with farmers from all three countries. Canadian Parliamentary Secretary of Foreign Affairs Andrew Leslie and Raul Urteaga, Head of International Trade at Mexico's Agriculture Ministry participated in the roundtable.
Farmers from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico shared their personal stories about how free trade in North American agri-food has supported a vibrant and competitive sector. They shared the importance of a strong NAFTA to support their livelihoods and maintain the integrated supply chains that have developed across North America.
This round provided an opportunity to highlight Canada’s food and beverage manufacturing sector, over half of which is located in Quebec and Ontario. Food and beverage is the largest manufacturing employer in Canada with close to a quarter of a million jobs, more than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined. Agri-food manufacturing jobs and a prosperous agri-food sector go hand in hand.
Our industry represents one of NAFTA’s biggest success stories,” Innes says. “Withdrawing from the deal would be a devastating blow to the agri-food sector.”
The Canadian Sugar Institute is a founding member of CAFTA, a coalition of national and regional organizations, associations and companies that support a more open and fair international trading environment for agriculture and agri-food.
CAFTA is the voice of Canadian agri-food exporters. The economic activity created by CAFTA members supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in agriculture and food manufacturing. A significant portion of these jobs would not exist without competitive access to world markets. CAFTA members represent farmers, producers, processors and exporters from the trade dependent sectors including the beef, pork, grains, oilseeds, sugar, pulse, soy and malt sectors. www.cafta.org