Meeting Minutes of the Canada-Mexico Consultative Committee on Agriculture - August 9, 2012
- Blair Coomber, Director General, Market and Industry Services Branch, Multilateral Relations and Policy Engagement Directorate – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
- Theresa Iuliano, Executive Director, Strategic Policy and International Affairs Directorate – Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
- Mariano Ruiz Funes Macedo, Subsecretario de Agricultura / Undersecretary of Agriculture – Secretaria de Agricultura, Ganaderia, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentacion (SAGARPA) / Secretariat of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries, and Food
- Javier Trujillo* and Hugo Fragoso*, Director General’s, Plant Health and Animal Health, respectively – Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA) / Animal and Plant Health, Food Safety & Quality National Service
*Javier Trujillo and Hugo Fragoso were the delegated co-chairs for permanent co-chair Enríque Sánchez Cruz, Director en Jefe / Chief Director – SENASICA.
The Canada-Mexico CCA is a high-level government-to-government bilateral forum. The most recent CCA meeting took place on August 9, 2012 in Ottawa, Canada with Canadian co-chairs from AAFC and CFIA; and Mexican co-chairs from SAGARPA and SENASICA. Of note, Dr. Enrique Sanchez Cruz and senior animal and plant health officials were unable to co-chair and/or participate in person, due to the avian influenza outbreak in Jalisco, Mexico. As such, Dr. Trujillo and Dr. Fragoso joined via video-conference to co-chair the meeting discussions.
CCA discussions focussed on three thematic areas:
- I. Better managing trade irritants and sanitary and phytosanitary issues;
- II. Providing informational exchanges on respective domestic, multilateral and/or international policy-related meetings; and,
- III. Collaborating on science and research-based agricultural activities, such as drought monitoring, exchange of research personnel, and resource management practices.
I – Trade / Market- Access Issues:
BSE: Access for Canadian over-thirty-month (OTM) beef and cattle:
Mexico’s import ban on Canadian OTM beef is one of the only remaining major BSE market access issue not yet resolved. Canada underlined that in its view, Mexico’s assessment of the risk of importing OTM beef from Canada does not provide sufficient justification for diverging from the international standard of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Canada reiterated that it expected a ministerial-level reply (Agriculture, Economia, Health/ COFEPRIS - Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios) to Canada’s request and stressed the need for a science-based decision that will re-open the Mexican market to Canadian OTM beef.
Mexico suggested asking COFEPRIS to hold another technical meeting with Canada’s experts. Canada proposed that if such a meeting were to take place in Canada (with the ultimate objective of supporting a ministerial decision), a visit to a slaughter establishment to be added to the meeting, in order to witness the public health measures taken by Canada such as the hygienic removal and disposal of specified risk materials (SRMs). Mexico’s and Canada’s co-chairs agreed to contact their respective health officials to seek agreement to hold this joint meeting before December 2012.
Recognition of Mexican bovine slaughter system:
The CFIA is finalizing its review of Mexico’s beef meat inspection system and will approve the system once it gets the assurance that E. coli controls are in place in Mexico’s TIF plants. Once the Mexican beef inspection system is approved, the CFIA will send SENASICA its import requirements and both agencies will need to agree on certification conditions. Following approval of the Mexican system, the CFIA will be able to make changes to the list of approved plants upon SENASICA’s recommendations, without requiring prior visit to those establishments.
Access for Canadian poultry and poultry products:
Canada continues to seek access into Mexico for Canadian poultry meat and is currently awaiting SENASICA’s response to CFIA’s letter. For the last few months, Mexico has been dealing with an emergency situation caused by an avian influenza outbreak in Jalisco. Mexico indicated that there was no record of this request and invited Canada to re-submit a request for this product. Canada agreed to submit a proposal.
Recognition of Mexico as a country free of classical swine fever:
Mexico asked Canada to expedite its current review of the information sent by SENASICA. A preliminary assessment report is to be provided to SENASICA by early Fall 2012.
Live sheep and goat (small ruminants) from Canada to Mexico:
CFIA is working closely with SENASICA to finalize the export certificate for Canadian sheep and goats for reproduction. SENASICA requested that CFIA resubmit a letter and certificate quickly in order to provide a response by September 2012. Canada and Mexico agreed to arrange a separate meeting via teleconference or videoconference to discuss further.
Approval of the Mexican sanitary certification format:
SENASICA thanked CFIA for the recent work in reviewing its zoo-sanitary certificates for exports of meat products to Canada.
Review of Canadian canary seed trade:
Canada expressed concern with the high number of rejected canary seed shipments due to quarantine weed seeds since July. Canada stressed that it is taking a number of steps to investigate the situation associated with these shipments. Once its investigation is completed, the CFIA plans to share audit findings with SENASICA.
II – Informational Exchange on Domestic, Multilateral, and International Policy-Related Topics
Mexico and Canada shared information on (recently held or upcoming) domestic, multilateral, and/or international meetings.
Informational exchange on respective regulatory environments:
Canada highlighted key regulatory and inspection modernization developments, including the CFIA’s proposed Draft Improved Food Inspection Model in Canada. The CFIA proposes a single approach to food inspection that will provide consistent and appropriate oversight across all regulated food commodities – either imported or produced domestically. The Draft Improved Food Inspection Model is posted on the CFIA web site for comment until October 31, 2012. The CFIA continues to seek input into the approach throughout the development process.
Mexico’s Farmer-to-Farmer Dialogue informational exchange:
Mexico provided an overview of the Farmer-to-Farmer Dialogue, an initiative it will host in Mexicali, Mexico in late August 2012, to bring together GMO-producers of soybean, canola, corn, and cotton, alongside non-producers from the three NABI countries in a collaborative dialogue on user experiences with crop biotechnology. The Dialogue will provide an opportunity to exchange producer experiences about the benefits and lessons learned from the use of biotechnology in agricultural production. SAGARPA confirmed over 100 Mexican producers and AAFC identified 4 producers from Canada to participate in the Dialogue.
Canada’s Domestic LLP Policy Update:
Canada provided a brief update on its current domestic and international approach for managing low level presence (LLP). Canada indicated the launch of a public consultation on the proposed domestic LLP Policy for Fall 2012, and along with the Canadian public, trading partners will be consulted through the World Trade Organization notification process. On the international front, Canada thanked Mexico for attending the First International Conference on LLP hosted in Vancouver in March 2012 and signing on to the international statement of LLP.
Mexico and Canada look forward to meeting at the Second International Conference on LLP on September 17-19, 2012 in Rosario, Argentina; and the North American Biotechnology (NABI) meeting in September 2012 hosted by Mexico.
Mexico’s G20 Agricultural Group Update:
Mexico highlighted key priority areas of the G20 Agricultural Group, such as productivity, innovation, research and development, food security, technology transfer, risk management, and sustainability.
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (MOP-6) Update:
Both countries discussed joint advocacy activities in preparation for the 6th Meeting of Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (MOP-6) taking place in Hyderabad, India on October 1-5, 2012. Mexico and Canada exchanged views on risk assessment & risk management of Living Modified Organisms (Article 15 and 16); and the use of socio-economic considerations in decisions of imports under the Protocol or under domestic measures implementing the Protocol.
Canada-Mexico Partnership Agri-Business Working Group (CMP-ABWG):
Complementing the annual CCA meeting, the CMP-ABWG took place on August 8th, 2012 in Ottawa. The ABWG component of the CMP involved more than 60 participants and contributed to fostering trade and business interaction between Canadian and Mexican agri-food sectors, helped to identify business and investment opportunities, and promoted sharing of best practices. Industry participants included representatives from four sub-groups: young producers/farmers, oilseeds, pulses, and organics:
- The Young Producer/Farmer sub-group met for the first time and discussed common challenges and issues facing young producers, farmers, and ranchers in both Mexico and Canada. Participants highlighted the need for succession planning and agricultural modernization, in order to attract and encourage young producers to agriculture. Participants also discussed the advantages of social media as an innovative method for ongoing communication.
- The Oilseeds sub-group continued an open dialogue and shared experiences and views on biotechnology; exchanged information on respective canola production technologies; and discussed mutual interests in biosafety under the Cartagena Protocol.
- The Pulse sub-group exchanged information on potential knowledge/personnel exchanges, discussed common trade issues that may hinder competitiveness, and shared best practices on consumer promotion efforts for bean production and marketing.
- The Organic products sub-group shared progress towards organic equivalency agreements in Mexico, opportunities for organic trade enhancement, and potential joint efforts on labour mobility programs.
Mexico and Canada look forward to the ABWG re-joining the overarching CMP meeting in Spring 2013, to be hosted in Mexico.
III – Science and Technology Cooperation:
Both countries were pleased to expand the scope of this year’s CCA agenda to include discussions on potential areas of cooperation in research, science, and technology. As such, AAFC delivered a presentation on the new Science and Technology Branch – an amalgamation of the previous Agri-Environment Service Branch and Research Branch. The new Branch encompasses the full continuum of research, development and technology transfer activities and is organized to engage with stakeholders and deliver services on an ecosystem basis.
Bilateral Opportunities: Science-based exchanges of personnel and the renewal of the 2008 Memorandum of Understanding:
Both countries discussed the renewal of the 2008 MOU between AAFC and Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales y Agropecuarias (INIFAP) to continue facilitating science-based exchanges of research personnel, and to explore opportunities for scientific and technical cooperation, such as bean research and the exchange of germplasm material on crops such as pulse, corn, and canola. Mexico and Canada agree to hold a videoconference before December 2012 to discuss the renewal of the INIFAP-AAFC MOU and other potential research exchanges. It was also recognized that to ensure successful efforts and results, it will be important to carefully select projects and activities, clarify expected results and timelines, dedicate resources and report on actual results.
Global Research Alliance (GRA) on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases:
Both countries discussed potential areas of cooperation under the GRA in cropland research, livestock research, and inventories and measurement of greenhouse gas emissions. The GRA was recognized as an important new opportunity for multilateral and bilateral collaboration and that the GRA Council meeting recently held in Canada was a successful and productive meeting. It was agreed to look at opportunities for collaboration on greenhouse gas mitigation, production efficiency and resiliency through the process of renewing the AAFC-INIFAP MOU on S&T cooperation.
Mexico and Canada emphasized their continued support for this cooperative program in agricultural research and technology, under the auspice of the Inter-American Institute on Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA). PROCINORTE was recognized as a useful trilateral vehicle for cooperation which parties should utilize to leverage North American resources for maximum mutual benefit.
Canada and Mexico discussed technical collaboration around the G20 Global Agricultural Monitoring Initiative (GEO-GLAM), Joint Experiments for Crop Assessment and Monitoring (JECAM), and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) in the Americas. Canada and Mexico reinforced the importance of the G20 GEO-GLAM initiative and Mexico undertook to prepare a proposal for collaborative activities between Mexico and Canada. The proposal will be forwarded to Canada’s Ian Jarvis for discussion and follow-up and collaborative activities agreed upon will be included within the framework of the AAFC-INIFAP MOU on S&T.
North American Drought Monitor:
Both countries communicated the importance of understanding the needs of end-users for agricultural climate services and that this understanding should drive investments and future activities and approaches under the North American Drought Monitor. Canada and Mexico agreed to hold separate bilateral discussions to identify key contacts and explore collaborative opportunities on drought monitoring.
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