UNITED STATES - CANADA ACTION PLAN
REGARDING AREAS OF AGRICULTURAL TRADE
This action plan is designed to strengthen and expand Canada-U.S. agricultural trade relations. It consists of 17 annexes as follows:
|1.||Import of U.S. Slaughter Swine|
|2.||Expansion of Northwest Cattle Project for Restricted Feeder Cattle|
|3.||Animal Health Regionalization|
|4.||Other Animal Health Issues|
|5.||Exchange of Cattle Data|
|6.||In-Transit Movement of Grain by Rail|
|7.||Wheat Access Facilitation Program|
|8.||Phytosanitary Requirements for the Importation of U.S. Wheat|
|9.||Other Grain Related Issues|
|11.||Export Subsidies (Oats)|
|13.||Pest Control Products|
|15.||Joint Cooperation on Biotechnology|
1. Import of U.S. Swine for Immediate Slaughter
On December 3, 1998, Canada passed regulations that will allow U.S. slaughter swine to enter Canada from eligible states without the testing and quarantine restrictions that are applied to breeding animals. The regulations governing the import of U.S. slaughter swine are comprehensive. Importation under permit will be allowed to a previously approved plant. The animals must originate from states that have reached Stages IV or V under the U.S. Pseudorabies Eradication Program and travel to the Canadian plant along defined routes and within defined time frames.
2. Expansion of the Northwest Cattle Project for Restricted Feeder Cattle
The Canadian "restricted feeder" regulations (Northwest Cattle Project) were amended on August 7, 1998. "Restricted feeders" that originate from approved states may be exported to Canada during the fall and winter months without test. The imported animals are treated for anaplasmosis following their arrival and are then permitted to move without restriction. To qualify to export under the new regulations, states must be officially free of bovine brucellosis and tuberculosis and be classified by Canada as low risk for bluetongue. Feeder cattle have been entering Canada from Montana and Washington State under the provisions of the new regulations. States that meet the same criteria and whose cattle producers wish to export to Canada under the regulatory provisions for restricted feeders are encouraged to contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Under normal circumstances, CFIA will evaluate and approve states within 2 weeks of request, dependent on the adequacy of information provided.
Importation under permit is allowed only to previously approved premises. In the United States, the health certification of the animals and validation of their identification is completed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) accredited veterinarian; there is no USDA endorsement of the export certificate required.
If a country imposes new duties on cattle trade, the other country may rebalance commitments made under this section for the duration of the duty increase.
3. Animal Health Regionalization - Recognition of the Health Status of States/Zones
Canada has initiated a review of regulations governing the import of animals and their products, with a focus on the principles of zoning and regionalization. The process is scheduled for discussion at the Canadian Animal Health Consultative Committee meeting in December 1998. Both parties expect that Canada will publish a final regulation during the first quarter of 2001.
4. Other Animal Health Issues
Brucellosis and Tuberculosis (TB) Requirements
As part of the cooperative brucellosis program, some states have mandatory brucellosis vaccination requirements for cattle within the state or imported from other states or countries. Some states also have additional testing and/or certification requirements for a number of diseases beyond the U.S. federal import requirements. The following steps will be taken to address this issue:
Equine Semen Imports
The United States requires an import permit and health certification for imports of equine semen from Canada. The United States agrees to initiate the regulatory process to change these regulations to eliminate the permit and certification requirements for equine semen imports from Canada and endeavor to implement a final rule eliminating these permit and certification requirements not later than January 2000.
Inspection of Live Horses
The United States currently has regulations requiring inspection at the border of all Canadian horses presented for permanent entry. Horses presented for temporary entry are not required to be inspected. The United States will initiate the regulatory process to eliminate the inspection requirement for all horses and implement a final rule eliminating this requirement by August 2000.
5. Exchange of Cattle Data
Canada and the United States will cooperate in the exchange of data on cattle trade and make publicly available a joint report within 30 days that will identify data currently available from each side; requests for additional data; and a proposal to address the needs for additional data. It is intended that the additional data will include the number of cattle on feed, cattle inventory and cattle slaughter.
6. In-Transit Movement of Grain by Rail
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has developed an alternative certification program that will permit shipments of wheat, oats, barley, rye and/or triticale, excluding seed, to transit through Canada based on a certificate of origin in lieu of a phytosanitary certificate with mandatory sampling and testing. This will allow U.S. grain to be shipped on the Canadian rail system to final destinations in the United States. A certificate of origin from a state authorized under the program will be acceptable for grain if it meets all of the following conditions:
The areas identified to participate in this program include the areas of
Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota that are recognized free of Karnal bunt, wheat flag
smut, and dwarf bunt. This program will become effective as soon as possible but no later
than January 1, 1999 for the states of Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota. The program
will be reviewed, in cooperation with the United States, six months after implementation
with a view toward expanding the program to other interested states meeting the same
program and science-based criteria as soon as possible.
7. Wheat Access Facilitation Program for Canadian Licensed Primary Elevators Handling U.S. Wheat
The program will improve access for U.S. farmers to primary elevators in Western Canada, while preserving the integrity of the Canadian grain quality control system. The program codifies the rules for handling of U.S. wheat by licensed Canadian primary elevators. It will enter into force on January 1, 1999.
The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) is giving advanced authorization to handle imported wheat from the United States for those primary elevators that have indicated a desire to participate in the Wheat Access Facilitation Program. Currently, 4 grain companies have proposed a total of 27 facilities for the program, most of which are located within 60 miles of the Canada-U.S. border.
The program facilitates U.S. wheat being trucked and sold by or on behalf of U.S. producers to participating Canadian primary elevators for storage and forwarding to domestic markets or export locations. This program complements existing arrangements that facilitate the direct movement of U.S. wheat and barley to Canadian feedlots, feed mills and flour mills.
Canada and the United States will jointly publish a fact sheet by January 1, 1999, explaining the program and how producers can participate in the program.
Within six months of implementation, Canada, in cooperation with the United States, will examine how the program has functioned with a view toward ensuring that it is working effectively and identifying potential ways to streamline procedures including inspections. Within the twelve month initial phase of implementation, Canada, in cooperation with the United States, will review the program. The review will include the clarity of the information provided to U.S. and Canadian producers, the volume of shipments under the program, the effect of Canadian Customs procedures and CGC inspections , and comments from U.S. and Canadian producers and Canadian elevators. The twelve month review will also consider procedures under the program with a view to streamlining and reducing costs of the program within 30 days of conclusion of the twelve month review.
This program will not be extended to any state that fails to exempt Canadian grain from state research and promotion check-off programs in a manner equivalent to that granted to grain from other sources.
8. Phytosanitary requirements for the importation of U.S. wheat and other cereals into Canada
Wheat Access Facilitation Program - Phytosanitary Requirements:
A procedure has been developed with the cooperation of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) that will reduce the amount of sampling and testing required for U.S. growers participating in the Wheat Access Facilitation Program.
Individual participants (growers) may ship wheat under a "Master Phytosanitary Certificate" without the requirement to have each individual shipment tested. Wheat must originate from an approved grower in states eligible under the program, and at least one sample per grower, per crop, must be officially tested and found free of Karnal bunt spores. The Master Phytosanitary Certificate must additionally satisfy requirements for dwarf bunt and flag smut based on area freedom or official testing as appropriate.
This program will be implemented for North Dakota and Montana by January 1, 1999. The program will be reviewed, in cooperation with the United States, six months after implementation with a view toward expanding the program to other interested states meeting the same program and science-based criteria as soon as possible.
Following the recent review of U.S. National Karnal Bunt Survey data and the confirmation that no spores of Karnal bunt were found in the non-infested states, CFIA has worked with USDA-APHIS to develop a certification program that permits wheat to be imported into Canada without the current requirement for testing. Under this program, wheat from approved states will be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate that certifies that the grain is produced in and shipped from a state that has been officially surveyed and found free from Karnal bunt.
Following discussion with USDA-APHIS to address concerns with the domestic movement of grain from the infested areas, Canada will be prepared to implement the above-mentioned program in a progressive, risk based approach, as follows:
Canada will initiate the process to implement the above mentioned program
immediately with a view to operationalize the above program for the first tier of states
by March 31, 1999.
Cereals (Wheat, barley, rye, oats)
As confidence is built through the Wheat Access Facilitation Program, the In-Transit Rail Program, and the above-mentioned phytosanitary certification program, the CFIA will consider further steps toward recognition of area freedom for Karnal bunt, dwarf bunt, and wheat flag smut. CFIA and APHIS will initiate discussions on the use of alternative certification to the issuance of phytosanitary certificates for all cereals to recognize area freedom for Karnal bunt, wheat flag smut and dwarf bunt. As a first step, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will review the Pest Risk Assessments (PRA) for each of the 3 diseases.
9. Other Grain Related Issues
Grain Trade Consultations
In order to strengthen cooperation and trust on issues of mutual interest, Canada and the United States agree to meet quarterly, or more frequently on request, to consult on global grain production and marketing. Such consultations shall include the following:
The first such consultations shall occur not later than February 1, 1999.
10. Seed Trade
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture agree to meet with interested state, provincial and industry representatives in the first quarter of calendar year 1999 to develop initiatives to streamline requirements and facilitate seed trade.
11. Export Subsidies (Oats)
Canada and the United States note that in the last crop year more than 700,000 tons of heavily-subsidized European Union (EU) oats were imported into North America. So far this crop year, more than 290,000 tons have been imported. Noting that the EU has eliminated barley export subsidies to North America, Canada and the United States have agreed to consider what steps might be warranted to achieve a similar result for oats.
12. Veterinary Drugs
Both the United States and Canada have stringent, scientifically based programs for the pre-market approval of veterinary drugs. While there are some differences in the regulatory approaches adopted, the outcomes are essentially equivalent in the protection of public health in the two countries.
A comparison made by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada has also indicated that both countries have prohibited most of the same veterinary drugs for food producing animals.
To avoid future disruption in bilateral trade, Canada and the United States have agreed to the following initiatives with respect to veterinary drugs:
13. Pest Control Products
To avoid future disruption in bilateral trade, Canada and the United States agree to the following initiatives with respect to pest control products:
Produce Pesticide Testing
Canada and the United States have stringent, scientifically-based programs for the evaluation and monitoring of pesticide residues. While there are some differences in the regulatory approaches adopted, the outcomes provide essentially equivalent protection of public health.
The Food and Drug Administration and Canadian Food Inspection Agency agree to work toward reducing the sampling of fresh produce through the exchange of scientific data, sampling plans and results, and taking such information into consideration in the development of annual national sampling plans. Both agencies agree to review the operation of import procedures with a view toward taking steps to streamline programs.
Bacterial Ring Rot Testing
In December 1998, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and CFIA agree to work with appropriate industry, state, provincial and scientific representatives to explore the benefits and possible implementation of harmonizing testing procedures for bacterial ring rot of potatoes.
Canada and the United States agree to work aggressively and quickly to resolve outstanding potato industry issues. Canada and the United States agree to ask the U.S.-Canada Ad Hoc Potato Committee to review the issue of regulatory differences and restrictions affecting bilateral trade in potatoes and provide a report to Ministers by September 1, 1999, on how these issues might be addressed with a view to facilitating bilateral trade.
Nursery Stock Phytosanitary Requirements
The United States currently restricts certain nursery stock from Canada that has originated in other countries, and then is grown for a time in Canada, to be exported to the United States. USDA and CFIA agree to form a joint working group charged with moving this toward a resolution by prioritizing the regulatory changes in order to harmonize import requirements for nursery stock from offshore sources. The working group will meet initially the first quarter of 1999 with a view to identify and prioritize species where differences exist and identify time lines for implementation of harmonization measures.
15. Joint Cooperation on Biotechnology
Canada and the United States have enjoyed continued cooperation in the area of agricultural biotechnology. Both countries use a science based approach to regulating products of biotechnology, including, but not limited to genetically enhanced products. This approach means that regulatory decisions are predicated on a critical assessment of the best available scientific information about the product and not on the process used to develop it.
In September 1998, Canadian and U.S. regulatory officials signed a technical agreement on the regulatory requirements for the assessment of specific aspects of transgenic plants. Canadian and U.S. regulatory officials will continue to meet to compare and harmonize where possible, the regulatory review process for transgenic plants and to discuss and prioritize future areas of cooperation and information exchange that will facilitate the safe incorporation of transgenic plants into agricultural production and commerce.
Canada and U.S. policy officials will continue to meet to discuss cooperation on multilateral biotechnology issues. Canada and the United States will continue to work closely in areas relating to biosafety including the U.N. Biosafety Protocol. Canada and the United States share common views on the subject of biotechnology in both the Sanitary and Phytosanitary and Technical Barriers to Trade Committees of the World Trade Organization. In addition, both countries are exploring the issue of how to deal with biotechnology within the WTO and its subsidiary agreements as well as other fora such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, CODEX Alimentarius Commission and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. Canada and the United States will also work together to promote the science-based approach to regulating biotechnology, including capacity-building.
Canada and the United States recognize the integrated nature of the North American agriculture and food economies and agree that country of origin labeling requirements on agricultural and food products will be consistent with obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization Agreement
17. Sugar Containing Products
No later than June 1, 1999, the United States will require an export permit issued by the Government of Canada as a condition of entry into the United States for sugar-containing products of Canadian origin for which the exporter or importer is claiming preferential tariff treatment. The products for which export permits will be required as a condition of entry will be sugar-containing products provided for in additional U.S. Note 6 to Chapter 17 of Schedule XX of the United States annexed to the Marrakesh Protocol to the GATT 1994, as currently reflected in note 8 of Chapter 17 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.