Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

November 23, 2006 11:37 ET

Minister Strahl Statement on U.S. Border Inspection and User Fees

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 23, 2006) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today issued the following statement related to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) decision to delay implementation of an interim rule that removes the exemption for agricultural quarantine inspections (AQI) of fruit and vegetables originating in Canada and the collection of fees to recover the costs of these inspections.

"While Canada's New Government welcomes the USDA's decision to delay implementation of the interim rule, we nevertheless stand by our position that this rule should be withdrawn.

"We have been asking U.S. officials to withdraw the interim rule since it was published in late August. Canada has suggested an alternate approach to address any legitimate U.S. concerns and allow time for bilateral discussion to avoid a further 'thickening' of the border.

"When I met with Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns in September, I expressed our government's concern with the proposed inspections and fees. I noted our shared interests in meeting food safety standards while highlighting the importance of avoiding any new fee or regulation that slows shipments of $1.5 billion worth of goods that cross the border each day.

"Our embassy in Washington D.C. submitted the Government of Canada's comments on October 13, 2006 to the formal U.S. rulemaking process, asking that the interim rule be withdrawn. Additional comments on the economic analysis in the interim rule were submitted by our embassy on November 16, 2006.

"Canada will continue to press for a collaborative approach that is in the best interest of both our countries."

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    613-759-7972
    1-866-759-7972
    or
    Minister Strahl's office
    Jeff Howard
    Press Secretary
    613-759-1059