NAFTA Update following Round 6 in Montreal

To quote Minister Freeland at the closing trilateral ministerial conference on January 29th, “negotiations are beginning to bear fruit.” CHC commends negotiators on their work thus far and for their continuing efforts in support of Canadian industry.

Canada presented some “creative solutions” to the U.S.’s unconventional proposals, however, on the most contentious chapters including rules of origin, little progress was made. More progress was made on the sanitary and phytosanitary, telecommunication, and customs tables, amongst others, and the anti-corruption chapter closed. All three countries are still at the table and will continue to negotiate towards a re-negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Rebecca with Ministers Jeff Leal and Laurent Lessard

From left to right: Laurent Lessard, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for Quebec; Rebecca Lee, Executive Director, CHC; Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for Ontario, during NAFTA re-negotiations in Montreal, QC.

CHC Activities during Round 6

  • Attended official stakeholder briefings by Canada’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator.
  • Met with negotiators from the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Table to get an update and provide feedback from our sector.
  • Attended the Quebec and Ontario’s Agriculture Ministers’ reception
  • Met with the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture to discuss progress and concerns surrounding the NAFTA negotiations.
  • Met with negotiators from the Trade Remedy Table for an update on the U.S.’s seasonal text proposal and ensure Canadian negotiators continue to be aware of our industry’s strong stance.
  • Hosted a trilateral horticultural industry dinner in partnership with the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.
  • Hosted a meeting room in partnership with the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, which was made available to industry from all three countries to use as a home-base, during the Agriculture Table’s negotiations.
  • Met with Prince Edward Island Trade Officials to discuss our sector’s key priorities with NAFTA.
  • Discussed key priorities with industry stakeholders, officials, media and political staffers in meetings and at various industry events.

Next Steps

NAFTA Round 7 will be held in Mexico City in late February. Fundamental chapters are expected to close in Mexico, including the Sanitary and Phytosanitary chapter. CHC will continue to meet with trade officials and monitor the re-negotiations.