Mexico-US trade agreement moves forward

August 31, 2018
Written by Greenhouse Canada
The bilateral free trade agreement between Mexico and the US moved forward this week with adjustments and news provisions reportedly being made – without Canada.

“It’s an extremely unfortunate situation for our industry and our country, as Mexico appears to have caved under the undoubtedly heavy handed approach of the U.S,” says Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) in a release. “These latest negotiations excluded Canada – even though we are a much more significant trading partner.”

Multiple media outlets have reported that the new Mexico/US deal will last 16 years, with reviews once every six years to allow for an extension.

“Canada, on the other hand, is clearly in a game of catch up,” says Currie. “It’s critical for Canadian negotiators to dig into the details to quickly understand and adapt the U.S./Mexico agreement to secure the continuation of a truly North American trade agreement. The markets of our three countries are integrated to such a degree and level of complexity that multiple bilateral agreements would be confusing and costly.”

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) had a more positive outlook on the negotiations. The non-profit organization was elated by the removal of the seasonality provision from the US-Mexico agreement, a term that the CPMA has previously advocated against. The provision would’ve allowed greenhouse industry representation from a state to ask for duties on produce based on one season’s worth of data, potentially resulting in a series of counter-actions and raised prices on produce.

Canadian negotiators have been moving quickly this week to nail down a new trade agreement.

“Many issues remain outstanding for the Government of Canada, including agricultural issues and elements of the Government’s progressive trade agenda,” says Troy Sherman, policy manager at CPMA. The organization is hopeful that the new trilateral agreement will include the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Chapter, as well as core elements of Chapters 19 and 20 of the current NAFTA agreement.

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