Expert says new NAFTA good for agriculture, but protectionism still a threat


Amanda Stephenson, Calgary Herald           

via Calgary Sun (Canada) - February 5, 2020


Canadian agriculture groups are urging federal politicians to move quickly to ratify the new NAFTA deal currently before the House of Commons.


But while the anticipated passage of the bill enabling implementation of the Canada, United States, Mexico Agreement will bring some measure of certainty to this country’s farmers and ranchers, experts say Canada must remain vigilant against protectionist sentiment in its major agricultural markets.


The CUSMA agreement — which has already been ratified by the U.S. and Mexico — preserves the tariff-free access to the North American marketplace that Canada’s export-dependent beef, pork and grain farmers enjoyed under its predecessor, NAFTA.


That preservation of access is critical, said Fawn Jackson of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. While the Canadian beef industry ships to 56 countries, it remains heavily reliant on its No. 1 customer, the United States.


“We export 50 per cent of our product, and 70 per cent of that goes into the U.S.,” Jackson said. “It’s the largest beef trade in the world, between Canada and the U.S. So it’s extremely important for us to keep that trading relationship steady and open.”


The CUSMA deal is also good news for Canadian producers in that it ensures the existing rules of origin...