Minister MacAulay's agri-food talks in Washington

Minister MacAulay's agri-food talks in Washington
Jan 22, 2024

By Jean-Paul McDonald

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, recently completed a significant trip to Washington, D.C. With over USD $70 billion in agricultural and food trade in 2022, the visit reinforces the importance of this bilateral relationship. 

His journey centered around reinforcing the longstanding agricultural bond between Canada and the United States. This visit marked his first U.S. outreach since being reappointed as Minister on July 26, 2023. 

"Canada and the U.S. have a bond like no other in the world. My discussions with our American partners highlighted the important and unique agricultural partnership between our two countries,” Said MacAuley. “This is a connection based on shared geography, common values, mutual interests and economic ties, with the shared goal of building a sustainable agricultural sector that strengthens our rural economies, and feeds folks at home and around the world." 

During his time in Washington, Minister MacAulay held meetings with influential U.S. officials, including Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. Their discussions underscored the necessity of collaborative work on mutual priorities.  

Key topics included bolstering the resilience of Canada-U.S. food supply chains, addressing food security, and committing to environmental sustainability. A vital aspect of these talks was maintaining and enhancing rules-based international trade. 

A prominent point of discussion was the proposed changes in the U.S. regarding "Product of USA" labelling for meat and livestock, alongside California's Proposition 12. Minister MacAulay expressed Canada's concerns about these developments, emphasizing their potential impact on trade and supply chain disruptions. 

Minister MacAulay and Vilsack also delved into sustainable agriculture. Both nations are actively collaborating to lead global agricultural innovation, especially in the context of climate change. This includes exploring new tools for decision making, monitoring, and measuring sustainability and resilience in agricultural practices. 

An important aspect of the visit involved discussions with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the Canadian Cattle Association. The focus here was on reducing trade barriers and acknowledging the integrated nature of North American beef supply chains. 

The Minister's trip concluded with a reception featuring food and beverages made from Canadian and U.S. ingredients, symbolizing the interwoven culinary heritage of the two countries. 

This visit reflects a commitment to a sustainable agricultural sector, underpinning the rural economies of both nations. Canada and the U.S. share a unique agricultural partnership, rooted in shared geography, values, and economic ties.  

Canada is the second largest agricultural customer of the United States – and the number one agriculture export market for over half of U.S. states. 

Photo credit:  AAFC Canada 

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