SEES BEN­E­FITS

Ma­cAulay talks agri­cul­tural trade with west­ern states and pro­duc­ers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MITCH MACDONALD mitchell.macdonald@the­guardian.pe.ca twit­ter.com/Mitch_PEI

Farm­ers and pro­duc­ers in the west­ern states see the North Amer­ica Free Trade Agree­ment as pro­vid­ing ben­e­fits to both sides of the Canada-U.S. bor­der, says Lawrence Ma­cAulay, Cardi­gan MP and min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture and agri-food.

Farm­ers and pro­duc­ers in the west­ern states see the North Amer­ica Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA) as pro­vid­ing ben­e­fits to both sides of the Canada-U.S. bor­der, says Canada’s min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture and agri-food.

Cardi­gan MP Lawrence Ma­cAulay was in Port­land and Ore­gon re­cently to pro­mote the im­por­tance of the bi­lat­eral trade re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Cana­dian and the U.S. agri­cul­ture sec­tors.

Dur­ing an in­ter­view with The Guardian, Ma­cAulay said he saw sup­port for NAFTA from both sides of the bor­der.

“‘Be care­ful with how you fix some­thing that’s not bro­ken.’ That’s a fair thing to say, and I’ve heard it a num­ber of times,” said Ma­cAulay. “They un­der­stand quite well how it’s ben­e­fited the agri­cul­tural sec­tors.”

Ma­cAulay pro­vided the key­note ad­dress to state and pro­vin­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tives, as well as in­dus­try mem­bers, at the

Pa­cific North­west Eco­nomic Re­gion (PNWER) Sum­mit while in Port­land, Ore­gon.

He later pro­vided an­other key­note ad­dress dur­ing the an­nual

meet­ing for the West­ern As­so­ci­a­tion of State De­part­ments of Agri­cul­ture in Sun Val­ley, Idaho, and then stopped in Boise, Idaho to meet with mem­bers of the state’s busi­ness com­mu­nity.

Idaho and Canada’s bi­lat­eral agri­cul­tural trade was val­ued at $408 mil­lion (USD) last year. The fig­ure was even larger in Ore­gon at $681 mil­lion (USD).

Ma­cAulay said more than $47 bil­lion (USD) of agri­cul­tural trade oc­curs every year be­tween the two coun­tries.

“And it’s rea­son­ably bal­anced or close to bal­anced, so it’s a ma­jor as­set to all of us,” said Ma­cAulay, adding that nearly nine mil­lion U.S. jobs de­pend on Cana­dian trade and in­vest­ment. “We’re very much in­ter­twined in a num­ber of in­dus­tries and that’s well un­der­stood.”

There has been plenty of spec­u­la­tion on what NAFTA will soon look like, with ne­go­ti­a­tions sched­uled to be­gin in Wash­ing­ton next month.

Dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump had promised to “rip up” the 1994 trade agree­ment.

Ma­cAulay pre­vi­ously told the Guardian in Jan­uary that he would be “sur­prised” if that hap­pened and pro­moted NAFTA’s ben­e­fits.

Trump has also ap­peared to soften on his NAFTA stance, with the U.S. ex­ec­u­tive of­fice re­leas­ing a list ear­lier this month of what it would ex­pect to see in the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Ma­cAulay also met with the U.S. and Mex­i­can sec­re­taries of agri­cul­ture, Sonny Per­due and Jose Calzada re­spec­tively, last month.

With the meet­ing largely seen as a pre­lude to the ne­go­ti­a­tions, it was re­ported that the three saw few dif­fer­ences.

Ma­cAulay used an ex­am­ple of a ham­burger to il­lus­trate how the agree­ment ben­e­fits all three coun­tries by provider greater ac­cess to food and sup­port­ing jobs.

“The meat could very well have eas­ily come from Canada, the bun from the U.S. and the to­ma­toes could be from Mex­ico,” said Ma­cAulay. “It ben­e­fits all sides.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

U.S. Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture Sonny Per­due and Cana­dian Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Lawrence Ma­cAulay share a laugh dur­ing a visit to Bland Farms in Glen­nville, Ge­or­gia, with Mex­i­can Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture Josez Calzada Rovi­rosa for tri­lat­eral meet­ings as well as other joint events re­cently.

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