Canadian Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Conclude Productive Meeting | USDA Newsroom
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Release No. 0403.10
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Canadian Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Conclude Productive Meeting

OTTAWA, Canada, August 10, 2010- Minister Gerry Ritz and Secretary Tom Vilsack today concluded a productive meeting on the two nations' shared agricultural interests.

Minster Ritz and Secretary Vilsack agreed to the establishment of a high-level working group to advance a science-based approach to global agricultural trade, improve Canada-US agricultural border flows and regulatory approaches, and further strengthen the Canada-US approach to food safety.

"Canada and the United States already exchange over $34B (CDN$) in agricultural products every year. Working together, we can break down barriers overseas and expand the opportunities for Canadian and American farmers throughout the world," said Minister Ritz.

"During a productive meeting, Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz and I agreed to take steps to strengthen the robust and mutually beneficial agricultural trading relationship that exists between Canada and the United States," said Vilsack. "We agreed to establish a bilateral working group to examine ways we can collaborate and promote more free exchange of agricultural products between our countries, and in markets around the globe. The farmers and ranchers in the USA and Canada are among the most productive in the world, and they only benefit by reducing barriers to markets."

Both Minister Ritz and Secretary Vilsack agreed to promote science-based agricultural trade – including reducing trade barriers for Genetically Engineered (GE) products and other issues – to the shared benefit of both nations' agricultural sectors. Both reaffirmed their interest in cooperation on priority markets for beef and other high-value agriculture products where possible.

Minister Ritz and Secretary Vilsack also discussed the need to revitalize the rural economy, promote a strong renewable fuels sector on both sides of the border, and implement and strengthen our organic equivalency standards and the Global Research Alliance.

Details of the high-level working group will be announced at a later time.

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