Apr 04, 2019
TORONTO, CANADA -- Last week USA Rice staff traveled to Canada, the number three export market for milled rice, to meet with the organization’s local contractors to discuss current promotional activities and plans for 2020 programs. While there, staff also attended a luncheon for Ted McKinney, U.S. Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, sponsored by the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Canada.
At the luncheon, McKinney emphasized the positive impact of the collective effort that Canada-based cooperators have had in both the American and Canadian economies. U.S. Agriculture Minister-Counselor Holly Higgins praised local cooperators for their work representing all U.S. commodities in Canada, especially those agencies in attendance. Higgins said Canada was the largest export market for U.S. agricultural products, including food and beverage, in calendar year 2018.
“Of the 21 billion dollars’ worth of food and agriculture products that came north last year, 16 billion were in value added products,” said Higgins. “Our cooperators make sure [the U.S.] name is out there and that our products are fairly represented, available, and have the Canadian consumer in their sights. It’s a good time to be focused on Canada.”
McKinney fielded questions from attendees about the status of the renegotiated NAFTA, now known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), saying he was optimistic about the renegotiated deal and hoped it will be finalized by the U.S. Congress in 2019. He summed up the Trump Administration’s sentiment about USMCA by quoting Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s Deputy Ambassador to the U.S., who has said, “The best trade deal is a complete and signed deal.”
Finally, McKinney reminded everyone of the upcoming U.S. Department of Agriculture trade mission to Canada in September (that USA Rice has plans to attend), and said the U.S. is working toward a fortified relationship with Canada to continue a successful free trade partnership long into the future.