RECORD OF UNDERSTANDING
BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND CANADA REGARDING AREAS OF AGRICULTURAL TRADE
In the spirit of friendship and frankness that characterizes relations between our countries, the Governments of Canada and the United States of America have undertaken to discuss and resolve key issues in bilateral agricultural trade.
Recognizing that agricultural and agri-food products comprise an important component of our vibrant and mutually beneficial bilateral trading relationship, the Governments of Canada and the United States jointly reaffirm their commitment to maintaining an open and dynamic trading relationship in these products.
Canada and the United States affirm their commitment to market-oriented agricultural policies and ongoing efforts to promote more open and fairer trade in agricultural products. Canada and the United States further agree that actions that disrupt trade should be avoided and commit to address issues before they become problems as the preferred way of resolving bilateral trade differences.
Canada and the United States have agreed to work together to increase the broad dissemination of basic facts about our bilateral agricultural trade and its impact on our agricultural and agri-food industries, particularly in the grains and livestock/red meats sectors.
Canada and the United States also note the importance which our respective states and provinces attach to trade in agricultural products, and strongly support an increased dialogue on these issues at the state-province level.
Canada and the United States emphasize the importance of Chapter 7 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Agriculture and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, which require the application of objective, science-based criteria as the basis for sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Chapter 9 of the NAFTA on Standards-Related Measures and its associated annexes and the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade govern the development and application of technical requirements by Canada and the United States .
We agree that inspections will be based on scientific and technical principles. We reject the unjustified use of these or other technical measures as barriers to legitimate trade.
The Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will meet at least annually to review the state of our bilateral agricultural trade, to address any problems that might arise, and to foster greater cooperation between the two countries on issues of common interest in other international fora. Sub-Cabinet level officials will meet at least twice per year to ensure that progress continues to be made on issues affecting access to each others markets. Officials will meet within 30 days to continue discussions of the resolution of outstanding agricultural issues and review progress of implementation of the agreement.
Canada and the United States agree to improve the management of bilateral agricultural trade relations by establishing a comprehensive early-warning and consultation process to resolve problems at an early stage in their development.
Canada and the United States encourage the private sector, through industry associations, to engage in a similar cross-border dialogue to increase our mutual understanding and our determination to resolve differences through consultation and discussion. For this purpose, Canada and the United States agree to urge industry to establish bilateral industry consultative mechanisms for grains, livestock and meats, and horticultural products.
Canada and the United States reiterate their strong commitment to resolving expeditiously any issues that might be brought to the attention of the respective governments in a way that is consistent with rights and obligations under the applicable international trade agreements. More specifically, Canada and the United States reaffirm their commitment as contained in international trade agreements to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to meet the obligations as contained in those agreements, including their observance by state and provincial governments.
The Governments of Canada and the United States have agreed to the attached comprehensive action plan, set forth in Annexes 1 to 17, aimed at facilitating and expanding Canada-U.S. bilateral trade in agriculture and agri-food products. The Annexes are an integral part of this Record of Understanding.
|For the Government of the United States of America||For the Government of Canada|
United States Trade Representative
Minister for International Trade
Secretary of Agriculture
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada