Agri-food trade ‘top of mind’ for Ontario officials

May 05, 2017
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May 5, 2017, Toronto – Ontario is working to strengthen agri-food trading relationships with U.S. partners.

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Jeff Leal, minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and minister Responsible for Small Business, released the following statement after meeting with leaders from Ontario's agri-food sector.

"Today, we met with a number of Ontario's top agri-food leaders to discuss trade relations with the United States. This is top of mind for all of us right now as workers and businesses on both sides of the border share the benefits of our deeply integrated relationship with the U.S. We are steadfastly committed to protecting Ontario's interests as we strengthen our relationship with U.S. partners. At this meeting, we discussed the priorities of the agri-food industry, as well as the opportunities and challenges we face together in the current context with our largest trading partner.”

The U.S. is Ontario's number one trading partner, with two-way agri-food trade totalling about $28.8 billion in 2016. Fostering this relationship in a way that helps Ontario agri-food businesses thrive is essential to creating and maintaining good jobs in Ontario communities, growing our economy and providing safe, quality food to consumers on both sides of the border.

WORKING CLOSELY WITH FEDERAL COUNTERPARTS AND U.S. LEGISLATORS

Ontario officials are actively working to ensure the province’s interests are well represented in discussions with our federal counterparts, as well as with legislators in Washington, D.C., and across the U.S.

Starting this month, as part of this continued outreach, Leal will travel to key Great Lakes states to meet with government and business leaders in the agri-food sector. This complements the Premier's ongoing engagement with state governors and continued dialogue with a full spectrum of Ontario businesses and workers.

“Minister Leal will continue to advocate for agri-food trade between Ontario and the United States, emphasizing the importance of our two-way trading relationship while representing the interests of Ontario's farmers and agri-food businesses,” noted the statement. “Ontario will continue to defend the interests of our farmers and processors, and maintain the integrity of Canada's supply management system at every opportunity.”

Ontario is also establishing a Minister's Advisory Committee on Agri-Food Trade, comprised of leaders from Ontario's agri-food industry, to provide advice and insight on the realities of our shared agri-food value chain.

“We look forward to the committee's valuable insight as we work in partnership to further strengthen trade relations with the United States."

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