OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 16, 2014) - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz will be in Mexico next week to promote the widespread agricultural trade benefits the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has provided across the continent over the past 20 years. Minister Ritz will join Mexican Agriculture Secretary, Enrique Martínez, and U.S. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, marking the first tri-lateral gathering of the three North American agriculture leaders.
Minister Ritz is scheduled to join his counterparts in a panel discussion on NAFTA and will hold bilateral meetings with Mexican Secretary Martínez and U.S. Secretary Vilsack on issues of importance to our agriculture trading relationships. Minister Ritz is also scheduled to lead a roundtable discussion and address cattle industry leaders from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada as part of the Mexican Cattle Association's Annual Convention.
Signed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mexico's President Carlos Salinas and U.S. President George H.W. Bush, NAFTA came into effect on January 1, 1994, at that time, creating the largest free trade region in the world.
- Since NAFTA came into force in 1994, Canada's annual GDP has risen by nearly $1.2 trillion and 4.7 million jobs have been created in Canada.
- The U.S. represents Canada's largest agricultural export market, with exports reaching $26.1 billion in 2013, roughly 200% higher than pre-NAFTA values.
- Mexico is Canada's fifth largest agricultural export market, with exports totaling $1.6 billion in 2013 and representing over 575% growth from pre-NAFTA values.
- Canada is the U.S.'s largest supplier of pork, live cattle and pulses and Mexico's largest supplier of canola, canary seed and lentils.
"NAFTA has helped grow Canada's agricultural industry exponentially and has made our producers more competitive within the region and beyond. I look forward to continuing to build on this success with my counterparts as we work to further integrate and strengthen the North American agriculture supply chain."
- Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz