Grain sector pleased with new NAFTA

Grain sector pleased with new NAFTA
Oct 02, 2018

The deal removes legal barriers, GGC says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Canada’s grain industry is pleased with much of the new trade deal with the U.S.

“We certainly believe in trade that’s as free as possible,” Ron Davidson, executive director of Soy Canada, told “For Canada, the United States and Mexico to have a continental trade agreement is great news.”

Included in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which would replace NAFTA once ratified, are provisions about grading Canadian and American wheat equally.

This change is beneficial for the industry, said Jeff Nielsen, president of Grain Growers of Canada.

“That issue has been an irritant for quite some time,” he told “With these new rules, a Canadian registered variety grown in the U.S. and shipped back into Canada can receive the proper grades. Previously, any U.S. wheat grown with a Canadian variety was automatically graded as feed.”

Jeff Nielsen

Because of the new rule, U.S. wheat will no longer require a country of origin statement on its quality grade or inspection certificate when entering Canada.

“Achieving the agreement will ensure ongoing stability in agricultural trade within North America,” Cam Dahl, president of Cereals Canada, said in a statement today. “Agriculture in all three countries has benefitted from freer trade. Preserving these benefits was a key objective in these negotiations.”

Canada and the United States have agreed to discuss issues related to seed regulatory systems. The USMCA will also modernize chapters on biotechnology, plant breeding techniques and address issues of low-level presence (when trace amounts of GM grain that hasn’t received import approval is found in a grain shipment).

Canada’s grain industry is keeping an eye on one specific grain item that will require more clarity.

“Canada shall exclude from transport rates that are subject to the Maximum Grain Revenue Entitlement, established under the Canada Transportation Act, or any modification, replacement, or amendment thereof, agricultural goods originating in Canada and shipped via west coast ports for consumption in the United States,” the USMCA says.

That item in the agreement came as a surprise to the grain industry.

“We’re still working on that one,” Nielsen said.

Canada’s dairy industry, however, is upset with the government’s decision to make market concessions.

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