Mission to Couer D'Alene, Idaho - August 12 to 16, 2008

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 Purpose of travel:
To attend and participate in the 18th annual meeting of the Tri-National Agricultural Accord (Accord).

  • To attend and participate in the 18th annual meeting of the Accord.
  • The goals of the Accord are to reduce impediments of the free flow of agricultural products through resolution of trade disputes; develop unified positions on issues important to agriculture through North America; provide federal officials with state/regional perspectives and proposed solutions to trade disputes; and support increased trade of agri-food products among the Canada, US and Mexico.

Mission Objectives:
  • Advocate Alberta’s agricultural trade interests in Mexico and the US.
  • Promote understanding of the inter-connected nature of agriculture in North America.
  • Advance Canada-US dialogue and increase understanding of the agriculture industries in Canada and the U.S.
  • Advance Canada-Mexico dialogue and increase understanding of the nature and interests of the agriculture industries in Canada and Mexico


August 13, 2008
  • Minister Groeneveld traveled to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho and attended the welcome reception.

August 14, 2008
  • The Rural Development Working Group (RDWG) meeting was chaired jointly by the Honourable Maria del Carmen Trejo, Michoacan Secretary of Agriculture, and the Honourable George Groeneveld, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. The Working Group provided information and a slideshow presentation about the meetings held in Edmonton, in October 2007 and Aguascalientes, Mexico, in May 2008. Reported accomplishments included a biofuel summit held in New Mexico; a cooperative relationship between Alberta and Jalisco for the development of a food processing pilot facility; a youth agriculture education exchange between Texas and Nuevo Leon; and an Oaxaca mission to New Mexico to further investigate their mobile slaughter unit initiative. In addition, Honourable Trejo reported on Michoacan’s innovative rural development programs designed to assist its poorest communities.

August 15, 2008

Canada – United States Bilateral Meeting
  • The US/Canada meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Gene Hugoson, Agriculture Commissioner for Minnesota, and Minister Groeneveld. The meeting began with reports from federal officials on the activities of the US/Canada CCA and a summary of the importance of Canada/US agricultural trade. The reports covered a range of topics, including harmonization of Mexico’s post-bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) import approach for cattle with Canada and the US, third-country beef market access, 2007 Canada-US Potato Arrangement, biotechnology cooperation, and organics regulation equivalency.
  • The delegates reviewed the proposed 2008-2009 workplan and exchanged information on a variety of issues. US delegates reported on biotechnology, biosecurity, and the technical arrangement announced in November 2007 between Canada and the US concerning trade in potatoes. Canadian delegates reported on changes in Canadian import regulations related to bovine diseases and changes in feed standards in both countries; pesticide and veterinary drug harmonization issues; activities related to foreign animal disease preparations; Canadian concerns regarding the implementation of Country of Origin Labeling (COL); and information was exchanged on invasive species and organic certification and standards. US delegates expressed concerns regarding the implementation of new Canadian organic certification standards. A report was also provided on the North American Biotechnology Initiative. During this meeting Minister Groeneveld urged the US to complete the rulemaking process to re-establish full trade in bison, sheep, goats, and other species included in the border closures following the discovery of BSE in Canada.
  • Delegates from both countries noted the progress made in reducing regulatory requirements for US feeder cattle exports to Canada and pesticide harmonization. Delegates also indicated their support for the continuation of regional agrosecurity conferences in Canada and the US. New issues added to the workplan were potato cyst nematode and climate change. In regards to potato cyst nematode, the delegates urged federal officials to assemble the International Science Panel as agreed to in the May 2008 phytosanitary agreement. A letter to federal officials regarding the five-year strategic plan on pesticide harmonization was agreed to as well as comments on the plan.

Canada-Mexico Bilateral Meeting
  • The Canada-Mexico bilateral meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Jorge Kondo, Sinaloa Secretary of Rural Development and President of the Mexican Association of the States Secretaries of Rural Development and Minister Groeneveld. The meeting began with reports from federal officials on the activities and accomplishments of the Mexico/Canada Consultative Committee on Agriculture (CCA). The CCA report covered a range of issues, including achievements in the areas of BSE recovery, dairy heifer trade; collaboration regarding US COL; information sharing regarding chicken, eggs, and sugar; and ongoing work in the area of classical swine fever, Newcastle disease, and further market access.
  • The delegates reviewed the 2007-2008 workplan and exchanged information on a variety of issues including the impact of the US farm bill, the impact of anti dumping provisions, the Security and Prosperity Partnership, bilateral trade in dairy heifers, veterinary drugs, and climate change. Alberta and British Columbia both urged Mexico to move quickly to re-establish full trade in cattle and beef products.
  • Co-chairs prepared a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture requesting a simple and flexible COL rule that does not disrupt trade. Another letter was prepared to respective federal agriculture ministers requesting that Canada reinitiate the World Trade Organization challenge of US agriculture subsidies.

August 16, 2008
  • Minister Groeneveld attended the closing ceremonies and returned to Alberta.


Honourable George Greoneveld, Minister Agriculture and Rural Development
Annalisa Baer, Manager, Bilateral Relations & Strategic Initiatives, Agriculture and Rural Development
Peter Kuperis, Senior Trade Policy Analyst, Agriculture and Rural Development
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This information published to the web on September 25, 2008.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 23, 2017.