CCA shares the importance of CUSMA ratification with Standing Committee on International Trade

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Source: Canadian Cattlemen’s Association

Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) Vice President, Bob Lowe, and CCA Director of Government and International Affairs, John Masswohl, appeared before the Standing Committee on International Trade recently to discuss Bill C-100, known formally as An Act to implement the Agreement Between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States.

The Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), as the updated and modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is known in Canada, will allow beef producers across the three countries to continue to thrive and industry in turn to maintain a positive impact on the Canadian economy. A robust beef industry provides environmental benefits as well, protecting through sustainable use the at-risk North American Great Plains ecosystem. In Canada alone, beef producers protect and sustainably use 44.2 million acres of grasslands through activities like livestock grazing, which preserves habitat for species at risk, biodiversity and watersheds.

The CCA strongly encourages the Government of Canada to swiftly progress CUSMA ratification. In his remarks to the committee, Lowe, a beef producer and feedlot operator, said the North American beef industry is a highly integrated market and enables the ability to sell specific cuts of beef to the customer most willing to pay for it. Having access to markets around the world, including the North American market, means that each beef carcass is on average worth $602 more that it would be if sold only to the Canadian market, he noted.

The importance of CUSMA is illustrated through statistics gathered since the implementation of NAFTA. Under NAFTA, Canadian beef exports to the U.S. grew 300 per cent in total value to $2 billion in 2018 from $500 million in 1995. Similarly, beef exports to Mexico grew to $110 million in 2018 from $3.7 million in 1995. In addition, Canada exported 630,000 head of live cattle to the U.S. in 2018 worth approximately $1.2 billion, for a total amount of beef exports worth $3.2 billion per year.

Masswohl noted that the new agreement includes meaningful progress on regulatory alignment and cooperation. “In particular the creation of a new Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee will help ensure regulations are transparent, based on science and that trade in North America flows freely, fairly, and abundantly,’ he stated. CUSMA will also ensure the preservation of dispute resolution provisions that are vital to ensuring fair and transparent processes are in place for when disagreements arise.

On Wednesday, Mexico became the first country to ratify the agreement. The new NAFTA will come into force the first day of the third month of all countries completing their respective ratification process. In Canada, legislation to ratify the agreement was agreed to at second reading in the House of Commons and referred to the International Trade Committee. The Liberals have said they will recall Parliament over the summer if needed to get the bill passed. The path to ratification in the U.S. is a topic Prime Minister Trudeau indicated he would discuss with President Donald Trump in his recent visit.

While in Ottawa, Lowe joined CCA President, David Haywood-Farmer and CCA staff to meet with MPs from the Liberal and Conservative constituencies. The CCA acknowledged the work both governments have done concerning a multitude of areas; and provided both sides areas of identified concern for the beef industry now and in the future.

The CCA’s view is that Canada is well positioned to grow the green economy and the continued free trade between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico increases our ability to do so. Other topics discussed with political leaders included trade and market access, agriculture and agri-food workforce shortages and the changes in the transportation of animals’ regulations. Proper animal care and welfare is paramount in the beef industry and the CCA implores the Government of Canada to consider the scientific and outcome-based studies being conducted over the coming months.

The CCA will keep the priorities of cattle producers top of mind as the Parliament adjourns for the summer in the coming weeks.

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