Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

January 22, 2008 19:30 ET

Minister Ritz Meets With Mexico's Alberto Cardenas

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO--(Marketwire - Jan. 22, 2008) - Mexico's Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food, Alberto Cardenas Jimenez, and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, met today to discuss and review common strategic agri-food issues.

"In the global economy, Mexico and Canada are strategic partners, sharing common interests and goals," said Secretary Cardenas. "As partners, we must look beyond NAFTA, and look for new and more creative ways to maintain the benefits originally conferred by this Agreement, as well as to strengthen the very special relationship that exists between our countries. This would benefit both our consumers and producers."

"Canada and Mexico share many values, as well as personal and historic links," said Minister Ritz. "It is an important partnership that goes beyond trade to include collaboration and forward-looking initiatives that benefit farmers and the agri-food sectors business in both of our countries."

Canada and Mexico share concerns about certain aspects of the U.S. Farm Bill, in particular as it relates to the provisions for mandatory country-of-origin labelling. Our countries consider that these measures will have a negative impact on our commercial relations rather than supporting the forward-looking strategies that promote market development in the North American Region.

Both Ministers welcomed the opportunity to meet during Minister Ritz' first official visit to Mexico. The meeting provided an opportunity for Minister Ritz and Secretary Cardenas to underline the recent signing by the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agricolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada of a Memorandum of Understanding on scientific and technical cooperation. They enthusiastically noted the mutual interest in pursuing collaborative research projects on dry beans, an area where there are benefits for both countries.

Minister Ritz and Secretary Cardenas also reviewed progress made on the trade elements of the agendas of the Canada-Mexico Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA) and the Agri-Business Working Group of the Canada-Mexico Partnership.

Minister Ritz and Secretary Cardenas agreed on the importance of normalizing trade in cattle and beef on the basis of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) principles as soon as possible. To this end, they agreed that technical officials will meet during the third week of February 2008, to review the final details of the appropriate protocols to enable trade to resume.

With regard to seed potatoes, Secretary Cardenas and Minister Ritz agreed that technical officials should work expeditiously with a view to resuming trade as quickly as possible.

Likewise, they committed to move forward in Canada's willingness to undertake a commodity-based risk assessment approach for the export of poultry products and by-products from Mexico.

Mexico is Canada's second largest source of agri-food imports after the United States. Canada imported about CAN $890 million in agri-food products from Mexico in 2006. In that same year, Canada exported CAN $1.3 billion in agri-food products to Mexico, making Mexico Canada's fourth-largest export destination for agri-food products. With respect to our commercial relationship, Secretary Cardenas shared with Minister Ritz that aiming to have balanced agricultural trade between our two countries will be of mutual benefit. As a result, Secretary Cardenas is proposing a mission of Mexican agricultural exporters to visit Canada to promote their products. In this context, Secretary Cardenas asked Minister Ritz to support the Mexican industry in their work to introduce their products in the Canadian marketplace.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Todd MacKay
    Director of Communications
    Marco Sifuentes
    Director of Communications
    52-55-3871-1000, ext. 33052