U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hosted his Canadian and Mexican counterparts for a trilateral meeting on agricultural trade and markets June 20 in Savannah.
As renegotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement begin later this year, Agriculture Minister for Canada Lawrence MacAulay and the Secretary of Agriculture for Mexico José Calzada joined Perdue in Savannah to tour the Georgia Ports Authority and a local farming operation. They issued a joint statement from the meeting:
“Our three nations are connected not only geographically, but through our deeply integrated agricultural markets. Our trading relationship is vital to the economies - and the people - of our respective countries. We are working together to support and create good jobs in all three countries. We share a commitment to keeping our markets open and transparent so that trade can continue to grow. That mutual commitment was reaffirmed in our discussions this week.
“The North American Free Trade Agreement has greatly helped our respective agricultural sectors as well as our consumers who have benefitted from an ever-growing variety of safe, affordable food products all year around. While even the best trading partnerships face challenges from time to time, our agricultural differences are relatively few in the context of the $85 billion in agricultural trade that flows between our three nations each year.
“Over the years, the United States, Mexico, and Canada have also worked collaboratively to protect plant and animal health, conduct joint research, and share best practices. These efforts have helped to eradicate several pests and diseases from the region, differentiating us from the rest of the world. Our three countries remain committed to continued collaboration to ensure a safe and reliable regional supply chain that makes the North American agriculture sector more competitive.
“Our visit to Georgia fostered the mutual understanding and personal relationships that will help North American agriculture thrive, improve our regional partnership and collaboration, and strengthen our trading relationship.”
Also this week, President Donald Trump nominated Gregg Doud, president of the Commodity Markets Council, to be the chief agricultural negotiator under the U.S. Trade Representative.
Doud’s background includes experience as senior aide to the Senate Agriculture Committee, chief economist for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, and international trade analyst for the American Soybean Association.
“Doud is a farm policy veteran with a wealth of experience and a solid understanding of the vital role trade plays in the U.S. agriculture economy,” said American Soybean Association Vice President John Heisdorffer.