U.S. - Canada Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA)
Meeting ReportWashington, D.C.
CCA Action Plan
Processed Food Product Issues
Agricultural Policy Updates
PSAG Meeting/Tri-national Accord Meeting May 15, 2002
Next CCA Meeting
The CCA co-chairs called the meeting to order and adopted the day=s agenda (Annex 1). A list of attendees is attached (Annex 2).
The co-chairs acknowledged progress made to-date under the CCA regarding the resolution of issues and the benefits of an open dialog that serves as an effective early-warning system for issues arising in bilateral trade.
CCA ACTION PLAN
The United States delegation proposed some changes to the draft of the revised CCA Action Plan (Annex 3). The Canadian delegation agreed to these changes. Once the revised Action Plan has been endorsed by Minister Vanclief and Secretary Veneman, and Canada has it translated, both countries will post the revised CCA Action Plan on their respective websites.
The United States participants said they are committed to follow-up on the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)=s conclusions on the Section 301 investigation, with a view to obtaining improvements in Canadian wheat trading practices. They noted that U.S. officials would be traveling to North Dakota the first week of April and, after that meeting, they would want to begin consultations with Canada. The Canadian delegation stated that it would be prepared to engage in bilateral discussions concerning access to the Canadian market. In addition, the two countries= WTO delegations would engage in discussions related to state-trading enterprise issues.
Potato Trade: Ministerial Exemptions/Bulk Easements-
The Canadian delegation presented a letter in response to a U.S. request for increased transparency of the application process for ministerial waivers. Canada noted that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was updating with intent to clarify the ministerial exemption application guidelines which are to be issued in the near future.
Dispute Settlement Mechanisms-
The Canadian delegation reported on the status of the paper on various settlement mechanisms available for sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) disputes. This paper had been requested by the Provincial - State Advisory Group (PSAG) at their last meeting. The Canadian delegation presented an outline for the paper and agreed to forward the first draft to the United States in the near future. The CCA agreed that the paper is to be a factual accounting of the various mechanisms that are available to resolve SPS disputes, including both technical discussions and formal processes, to increase understanding.
U.S. and Canadian officials reported on the Canada - U.S. tomato industry meeting that took place on March 19, 2002 at which discussion covered SPS and data transparency issues. The Canadian and U.S. tomato industries agreed to future meetings to have a regular cross-border dialogue and develop joint views on issues of shared interest. The industry committee is considering aligning its future meetings with CCA meetings, and is expected to write to the CCA requesting that the Tomato Working Group be formally established. It was agreed that the CCA would respond favorably to this.
Seed Certification Laboratory Accreditation-
The Canadian delegation presented a proposed policy for the accreditation of foreign seed testing laboratories, and confirmed later in the meeting that it had been posted earlier that day on the CFIA's website athttp://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/plaveg/seesem/polteste.shtml. Canada also stated that a 60-day public comment period would be open starting from when the document was posted on the website. The Canadian delegation welcomed comments from the United States. The U.S. delegation said it would review the policy and provide comments. The Canadian delegation stated that it will continue to be Canadian policy to recognize equivalent systems to its own and that the International Seed Trade Association (ISTA) accreditation standard requirements are considered equivalent to the Canadian accreditation system.
Use of Seed Tag for Wheat/Barley Seed Exports to Canada-
The U.S. delegation asked that Canada recognize the use of seed tags in place of phytosanitary certificates for seed exported to Canada. The Canadian delegation noted that Canada is still waiting for a reply to its letter sent last July asking about 4 cases of Karnal Bunt reported in Texas and that progress on this matter is contingent on resolving Karnal Bunt-related issues. Both sides agreed that the topic will be further discussed during the upcoming Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) - CFIA bilateral meeting to be held later this year (2002), where a time frame to move forward on this issue would be identified.
U.S .- Canada Cooperation on Phytosanitary Measures-
The APHIS and the CFIA informed the CCA that significant progress was made on phytosanitary measures at a recent meeting between CFIA and APHIS.
The Canadian delegation asked for an update on the status of proposed U.S. regulations relating to industrial hemp. The U.S. delegation reported that the U.S. Customs Service's new interpretation of rules with regard to industrial hemp is subject to review by the U.S. Court of Appeals and that oral arguments in a case before the 9th circuit court of appeals are scheduled to take place on April 8, 2002. In the interim, trade for products with naturally occurring tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) is continuing.
Movement of Horses into the U.S.-
The Canadian delegation asked for an update and indication of when the U.S. would amend its regulations on the movement of horses from Canada into the United States pursuant to the commitment in the 1998 Record of Understanding. The U.S. delegation indicated that the matter is complicated due to the impact of third country requirements and disease status, and agreed to continue examining specific disease control issues. Canada undertook to provide any outstanding information on its regime as quickly as possible.
Restricted Feeder Cattle Program-
The U.S. delegation sought elaboration regarding Canada=s March 15 decision to reject a proposal for a pilot program aimed at expanding access for US feeder cattle on a year round basis. The Canadian delegation stated that it is Canada=s intention to prevent the introduction of US endemic cattle diseases that do not exist in Canada and that the proposal did not include a risk assessment in that regard. The Canadian delegation stated that it would continue to be prepared to consider any future proposals expeditiously. The U.S. delegation requested that CFIA and Health Canada provide follow-up information regarding a concern over US tetracycline use in cattle.
Reclassification of Bluetongue-
The Canadian delegation expressed Canada's full support for the U.S. position to remove Bluetongue from the Office of International Epizootics (OIE)=s list A status.
Vancise Compensation Claim-
The Canadian delegation requested an update on the status of a claim for compensation from USDA in the matter of a falsified animal health certification by an APHIS contract veterinarian. The U.S. delegation indicated that the matter is currently under legal review. The U.S. delegation asked what Canada=s response would be if the situation were reversed. Canada advised that such cases were rare, but in the only two cases of like circumstances that could be identified, the Government of Canada acted in one case to provide compensation and in the second, government oversight caught the error before any damage occurred. The Canadian delegation undertook to provide further details on these other two cases. The U.S. undertook to provide an update on the issue.
Veterinary Drugs Comparison-
The U.S. delegation provided a revised draft of the veterinary drug comparison list and reiterated its long-standing interest in publishing a comprehensive side-by-side comparison of veterinary drug tolerances of the U.S. and Canada. The Canadian delegation indicated they would review the U.S. list as soon as possible. The CCA noted the importance of revitalizing the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Veterinary Drugs and Feeds to expedite the work on veterinary drug comparison and to work toward future harmonization of tolerances where appropriate.
Meat Grading Provision in the Proposed U.S. Farm Bill-
The Canadian delegation stated that the new meat grading provisions in the proposed U.S. Farm Bill would have a negative impact on the highly integrated North American meat markets and would, in its view, violate the national treatment provisions of the NAFTA and WTO. The U.S. delegation noted the Canadian delegation's comments, stating that the U.S. Farm Bill was still in conference.
Country of Origin Labeling in the Proposed U.S. Farm Bill-
The Canadian delegation expressed its concerns about meat and fish country of origin labelling proposals in the proposed U.S. Farm Bill and the potential negative impact on the integration of North American meat markets. The U.S. delegation noted the Canadian delegation's comments stating that the U.S. Farm Bill was still in conference. The U.S. delegation also noted that the Administration has opposed mandatory country of origin labelling.
Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)'s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on Country-of-Origin-
The U.S. delegation noted that the comment period closed in October 2001 and that FSIS is in the process of evaluating the comments. If FSIS decides that a change is needed, then it would issue a proposed rule. Canada recalled that it had submitted written comments and said that it hoped that they would be taken into account.
PROCESSED FOOD PRODUCTS
The U.S. delegation expressed concern that Canada's proposed mandatory nutrition labelling regulation, due to be published in final in the next year, would create a dual and costly labelling system. The CCA recommended that the NAFTA Technical Working Group (TWG) on Food Packaging, Labelling and Food Standards, which is meeting April 2 - 5, 2002, be encouraged to work on an interim solution, as well as long-term harmonization.
Metric Increments of Institutional Food Package Sizes-
The U.S. delegation requested that Canada deregulate package sizes. The Canadian delegation noted that while products are treated differently in Canada, the rules are not inconsistent and that comments from the United States are welcome as the regulations will be developed over the coming months.
Breaded Snack Food-
The U.S. delegation presented a letter from U.S. Trade Representative Zoellick to Canada's Trade Minister Pettigrew on breaded snack foods requesting a resumption in trade by returning tariffs to pre-December 1999 levels. The Canadian delegation noted that Canada's position had not changed since the previous CCA meeting, and agreed to deliver Ambassador Zoellick's letter to Minister Pettigrew.
Update on Pesticide Harmonization-
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided the CCA with an update on the work of the NAFTA Technical Working Group (TWG) on Pesticides. EPA presented a report outlining the proposed NAFTA workplan for the next five years. The U.S. delegation asked if there were any developments in Canada related to Lindane that would have implications for the U.S. - Canada Record of Understanding. Uses of Lindane on canola were gone as of July 1, 2001. In addition, PMRA has completed the special review of lindane and found the risks to be unacceptable. As a result, all registered uses of lindane will be phased out by 2004. There has been a challenge under NAFTA Chapter 11 with respect to the decision particularly related to the removal of canola. The next meeting of the NAFTA TWG on Pesticide Harmonization is scheduled for May 2002 in Mexico.
The U.S. and Canadian delegations exchanged information on current and prospective developments that have the potential to affect exports to third country markets. The Canadian delegation indicated its support for the U.S. position on EU traceability and labelling regulations. China's new biotech regulation was also discussed. The CCA agreed on the importance of continuing to share information and coordinate on biotech issues that affect exports to third country markets.
Sugar Syrups-Retroactive Duty Assessment-
The Canadian delegation expressed its concerns regarding the U.S. Customs Service=s request to collect retroactive duties on sugar syrups.
The Canadian delegation stated that the proposed amendment would be inconsistent with U.S. trade obligations and that the Canadian government (GOC) would be under pressure to initiate trade agreement consultations on this issue. The U.S. delegation noted the Canadian delegation's comments.
Beet Sugar Waivers-
The Canadian delegation raised concerns regarding USDA's recently issued waiver of the refined sugar re-export program which changed the definition of refined sugar and allowed beet sugar to qualify for the U.S. program. The U.S. delegation responded that the change was requested by the U.S. industry and was consistent with the definition of raw sugar under subheading Note 1 of Chapter 17 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.
Bioterrorism Bill in Conference (S1765/HR3448) and Canada-U.S. Cooperation to Prevent Bioterrorism-
The Canadian delegation noted that Canada fully shared U.S. concerns about bioterrorism and the need to take measures to counter potential terrorist threats. The GOC does, however, have some specific concerns with aspects of S.1765/HR3448, especially the proposed 24-72-hour prior notice provision for products moving across the border. The Canadian delegation stated that this would be extremely problematic for seafood products and other perishables striving for "just-in-time" delivery. The U.S. delegation outlined the Administration=s efforts regarding bioterrorism and noted Canada=s concerns.
Peanut Butter Tariff-Rate Quota (TRQ)-
The Canadian delegation requested for CY 2000 that the U.S. reallocate to Canada the unfilled MFN TRQs from other countries in order to rectify a situation where a Canadian quota holder has been charged over-quota duties. Canada also suggested that a long-term solution could involve the U.S. recognition of Canadian export certificates. The U.S. delegation indicated that this did not appear to be a one-time issue since Canada has made a similar request in the past arising from a similar incident.
AGRICULTURAL POLICY UPDATES
Canada's Agricultural Policy Framework-
The Canadian delegation updated the CCA on the development of the new Agricultural Policy Framework and outlined the five principal topics: food safety and quality, environment, science, sector renewal and risk management. The U.S. delegation noted that these areas are also of interest to the U.S. and are addressed in the U.S. Farm Bill.
Proposed U.S. Farm Bill-
The Canadian delegation expressed concern regarding the level of domestic support being discussed in the proposed U.S. Farm Bill. The Canadian delegation also noted that the proposed U.S. Farm Bill might cause the U.S. to breach its WTO commitments, and jeopardize the U.S. leadership role in the WTO. The Canadian delegation also expressed concern that the proposed provisions for marketing loans for pulse crops and country of origin labeling for meat and livestock could have immediate and harsh impacts for Canadian producers. The concerns by the Canadian delegation were noted. The U.S. delegation mentioned that the Administration is actively engaged with Congress on these issues and does not intend to breach its WTO commitments.
PSAG MEETING/TRINATIONAL AGRICULTURAL ACCORD MAY 15, 2002
The U.S. delegation noted that Secretary Veneman was scheduled to attend the Trinational Accord meeting. The Canadian delegation noted that Minister Vanclief was unable to attend, but that a suitable high-level Canadian official would go in his place. The co-chairs indicated that they would be prepared to participate in the PSAG meeting and inform the PSAG of developments in the CCA, as the PSAG had requested. With respect to the joint federal presentation on domestic support that had been requested by the PSAG, it was confirmed that an official from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada would work with an official from the U.S. Department of Agriculture=s Economic Research Service to prepare a presentation.
NEXT CCA MEETING
It was tentatively agreed that the next U.S. - Canada CCA meeting would be in early October 2002.
U.S. - Canada Consultative Committee on Agriculture
Friday, March 22, 2002
CCA Action Plan:
Review and approval of updated Action Plan
Potato Trade: Minsterial Exemptions/Bulk Easements
Dispute Settlement Mechanisms
Seed Certification Laboratory Accreditation
Use of Seed Tag for Wheat/Barley Seed Exports to Canada
U.S.-Canada Cooperation on Phytosanitary Measures
Movement of Horses into the U.S.
Restricted Feeder Cattle Program
Reclassification of Bluetongue
Vancise Tort Case
Veterinary Drugs Comparison
Meat Grading Provision in the Proposed U.S. Farm Bill
Country of Origin Labeling in the Proposed U.S. Farm Bill
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking (ANPR) on Country-of-Origin
Processed Food Product Issues:
Metric Increments of Institutional Food Package Sizes
Breaded Snack Food/Cheese Sticks
Update on Pesticide Harmonization
Sugar Syrups-Retroactive Duty Assessment
Beet Sugar Waivers
Bioterrorism Bill in Conference (S1765/HR 3448) and Canada - U.S. Cooperation to Prevent Bioterrorism
Peanut Butter Tariff-Rate Quota (TRQ)
Agricultural Policy Updates
Canada's Agricultural Policy Framework
Proposed U.S. Farm Bill
PSAG Meeting/Tri-national Accord Meeting May 15, 2002
NEXT CCA MEETING
U.S. - Canada Consultative Committee on Agriculture
March 22, 2002
Office of the U.S.Trade Representative
James M. Murphy, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Agricultural Affairs
Sharon Bomer Lauritsen, Director for Agricultural Affairs
Amy Abbel, Intern
Christopher Armao, Intern
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Patricia R. Sheikh, Deputy Administrator, International Trade Policy (ITP), Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS)
Curt Mann, Special Assistant to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Gary Groves, Assistant Deputy Administrator, Commodity and Marketing Programs (C&MP), FAS
Frank Tarrant, Director, Horticultural & Tropical Products Division, C&MP, FAS
Richard Blabey, Director, Import Policies & Program Division, ITP, FAS
Cathy McKinnell, Deputy Director, Multi-Lateral Trade Negotiations Division, ITP, FAS
Debbie Seidband, Economist, Grain & Feed Division, C&MP, FAS
Audrey Talley, Senior Marketing Specialist, Food Safety and Technical Services, ITP, FAS
Renee Schwartz, Senior Economist, Asia & the Americas Division, ITP, FAS
Fred Thomas, Director, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Dr. Bob Bokma, Regional Coordinator for the Americas, APHIS
Eric Nichols, Trade Support Team, APHIS
Bill Sessions, Associate Deputy Administrator, Livestock and Seed Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
Norval Francis, Minister Counselor, FAS, Ottawa, Canada
Thomas Billak, Preclearance Coordinator & Acting Attaché, APHIS
Food and Drug Administration
Merton Smith, Ph.D., Special Assistant for International Activities, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
Environmental Protection Agency
Tracy Perry, U.S. Secretariat for NAFTA TWG on Pesticides, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Canadian Delegation:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Rory McAlpine, Director General, International Trade Policy Directorate
Phillip Douglas, Deputy Director, Trade Policy, Canada -U.S. Trade Policy
Ron Krystynak, Deputy Director, Trade Issues, Canada-U.S. Trade Issues
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Fred Gorrel, Senior Officer, International Affairs
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Andrea Lyon, Director, Tariffs and Market Access Division
Catherine Tokarz, Senior Trade Policy Officer, Tariffs and Market Access Division
Claudio Valle, Director, Technical Barriers and Regulations Division
Canadian Embassy, Washington, DC
W.R. (Bill) Crosbie, Minister Counsellor
John Masswohl, Agriculture Counsellor
Alan Minz, Trade Policy Counsellor