Final Trip Report: Mission to Legislative Agriculture Chairs Summit-Denver, Colorado - January 8-10, 2016

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 Purpose of travel:
Attend and speak at the 2016 Legislative Agriculture Chairs (LAC) Summit

Honourable Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry (AF) led a mission to Denver, Colorado to attend and speak at the United States (US) State Agriculture and Rural Leaders (SARL) Group annual LAC Summit to support Alberta’s trade and relations priorities with Alberta’s/Canada’s most important bilateral trading partner and largest export market for agriculture, food and forestry products, the US.

Historically, the Summit has been used by Canada as a forum to address the adverse impact the US Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) legislation has had on the livestock sector since its inception in 2008. The US Congress repealed COOL on December 18, 2015, just prior to the 2016 LAC Summit.

The 2016 Summit drew 135 legislators from 46 US states and seven Canadian provinces. Provincial Ministers of Agriculture from Alberta, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island were in attendance in addition to Members of the Legislative Assemblies of Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. The remainder of the Canada Delegation was comprised of federal representatives from the Canadian Consulate in Denver (including the Consul General); Agriculture and Agrifood Canada’s (AAFC) Market Access Secretariat (MAS), and industry representation from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), Canadian Pork Council (CPC), Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Prairie Swine Health (Alberta), and the Manitoba Pork Council.

Mission Objectives:
Profile the Province of Alberta and its agriculture and forestry sectors.
Advance Canada’s/Alberta’s trade policy priorities with influential US legislators and industry leaders.
Expand and strengthen relations with Alberta’s largest and most significant export market for agriculture, food and forestry products.
Express Canada’s gratitude towards specific US states whose support of Canada’s position on COOL was instrumental in the legislation’s repeal (December 2015).

Minister Carlier attended the West Regional Dinner where he was able to engage representatives from some large cattle producing states (Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota). This informal, non-partisan engagement allowed for networking and conversation with some of Alberta’s top export markets for agriculture and food products (in 2014 western states accounted for a combined $2.3 billion in Alberta agriculture and food exports).
Minister Carlier participated in the annual Canada Delegation Briefing jointly planned and executed by Alberta and AAFC which allowed for strategic discussion on Canada’s outreach campaign (post COOL) and other bilateral issues outside of COOL that could be raised during the Summit (wheat grading and the soft wood lumber agreement were prominent topics). The Government of Canada, CCA and CPC provided advocacy updates; Ms. Marcy Grossman, Consul General of the Consulate in Denver provided greetings.
Minister Carlier attended the Enhancing Trade and International Marketing session where AAFC’s MAS Director Ms. Natalie Durand was the Canadian representative on the panel dedicated to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Ms. Durand reiterated the importance of the strong US-Canada trade relationship and how Canada’s new Liberal government's agriculture mandate makes trade a top priority. During this session Minister Carlier thanked his US counterparts for keeping the forward momentum on COOL over the years and for its eventual repeal. The Minister posed to the panel that they consider informing the US and Canadian federal governments of the importance of TPP to the agriculture sector and that their collective movement on ratification of the agreement should be sooner rather than later.
Minister Carlier profiled the Province of Alberta, its rich agricultural history, the Calgary Stampede and advocated for the 2019 LAC Summit to be held in the City of Calgary to the entire US-Canada Delegation during the Canada Profiling Event Lunch. The Minister’s address was extremely well received and was preceded by Travel Alberta’s “Remember to Breathe” production. Over the course of the next few months SARL will deliberate on the location of the 2019 Summit.
During an engagement with the State of Vermont’s Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Minister Carlier underscored Alberta’s sustainable forest practices and recognition of the industry’s social license to operate. The Minister further profiled Alberta by noting the province’s $1.4 billion in forest product exports to the US in 2014.
Over the duration of the Summit Minister Carlier, along with the entire Alberta Delegation, conveyed Canada’s message of gratitude to the many US states who were supportive of Canada’s positon on COOL (Michigan, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Hawaii to name a few). Texas House Representative Doc Anderson was also recognized for his role in introducing one of the first anti-COOL Resolutions at the 2013 LAC Summit in Vancouver.

Overall, the mission provided Minister Carlier with an enormous amount of exposure to 46 US state agriculture legislators, and invaluable opportunities to address the repeal of COOL, Alberta’s position on TPP, and to profile the province’s agriculture, forestry and tourism sectors. Minister Carlier was further able to converse with and engage provincial colleagues from Nova Scotia (Honourable Keith Colwell, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture), and PEI (Honourable Alan McIssac, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries), Canada’s national livestock federations, and Canada’s federal government on matters related to agricultural cooperation and the enhancement of trade.

Minister Carlier articulated several areas of improvement that could be considered for future Summits noting enhanced Canadian presence on session panels; an expanded agenda that would include a dedicated segment on bilateral agriculture policy (with appropriate policy experts from each respective country); and the necessity of having both the Minister of AAFC and the US Secretary of Agriculture attend.

Bilateral planning has already begun for the 2017 LAC Summit January 6-8 in
Baton Rouge, Louisiana; AF will continue its efforts to advocate for the City of Calgary as the location for the 2019 LAC Summit.

Honourable Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
Tony Clark, Minister Carlier’s Chief of Staff
Bev Yee, Deputy Minister, Agriculture and Forestry
1 Department Staff

International Travel Final Expenses:

Expenditures by Participants
Travel (includes airfare, airport service fees, ground transportation costs, including taxis, car rentals, parking, trains, buses as well as mileage to/from airport or taxis to/from airport in Alberta, including any cancellation fees)
Accommodation (room charges and related taxes, including any cancellation fees)
Meals (includes restaurant bills and tips, meals on hotel bills, per diem meal claims, share of group meals or working sessions)
Incidental and Miscellaneous (includes cell phone rental charges, incremental costs for all electronic devices such as roaming charges for cell phones, iPads and costs associated with communications such as the costs incurred for media call-backs, conference/registration fees, including cancellation fees, fax and internet charges, passport and visa fees, medical and inoculation fees, laundry and dry cleaning, baggage handling, out-of-country per diems, and other sundry expenditures)
General Mission Expenditures
Receptions and Hosting Includes Alberta’s contribution to the Canada Profile Lunch which is an event cost shared by other provinces, the Federal Government and consulates in Denver and Minneapolis as well as to sponsor the Team Canada Briefing. (also includes receptions, luncheons, dinners, and events that are hosted by the Government of Alberta that are specific to the mission and include meeting related costs for room rental, room rental for hosted events, food, beverages, catering staff, service charges, entertainment, flowers)
Incidental and Miscellaneous (includes translation of documents fees, publications, shipping charges, gifts purchased specifically for mission, Canadian Embassy/High Commission/Consulate charges for services provided to the GOA)
Total Costs

Final Itinerary:

January 8Arrive Denver, Colorado
    - West Regional Dinner
    - Canada Delegation Briefing
January 9Plenary and Sessions
    - Plenary on Food (addressing consumers and activists)
    - Enhancing Trade and International Marketing (TPP and Trade Restrictions)
    - Canada Profiling Event Lunch
        o Minister Carlier addressed the US-Canada Delegation
    - Forestry and Aquaculture
        o Minister Carlier engagement with the State of Vermont’s Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation
    - US-Canada Delegation Dinner and Colorado National Rodeo
January 10Meetings
    - SARL Board elections and resolutions
    - Return to Alberta
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Kelly Bernard.
This information published to the web on March 15, 2016.