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Comments from CPMA and United Fresh

President Trump intends to renegotiate NAFTA

On May 18, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress that President Donald Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Canadian Produce Marketing Association as well as United Fresh released a statement.

Both organizations commented that trade in fresh fruit and vegetables in North America is highly integrated across the entire supply chain. Open trade is critical to ensuring North American consumers have access to fresh fruit and vegetables year-round, as well as ensuring growth and economic sustainability.

NAFTA has been successful
"CPMA supports an integrated North American market for fresh produce," said Ron Lemaire, President of CPMA. "The North American Free Trade Agreement has been successful, with significant volumes of trade in produce flowing north and south across borders." In 2014, Canada imported $8.1 billion in fresh produce, with the U.S. and Mexico being Canada's largest suppliers. Canada exported $2.1 billion in fresh produce in 2014, representing 52% of all Canadian production.

Robert Guenther, Senior Vice President of Public Policy with United Fresh, adds that "The past 25 years of NAFTA has seen important growth in the fruit and vegetable industry to meet consumer demand. However, there are certainly specific challenges within fresh produce that NAFTA modernization can aggressively address, so we are pleased that this opportunity has been realized by the Administration."  

Constant dialogue
CPMA has already been actively consulting with industry, partners and governments to ensure the needs of the fresh fruit and vegetable sector are heard and considered during negotiations. "We are committed to working with the Canadian Government on this issue and will strongly represent the interests of the produce industry during any renegotiation process," said Lemaire.

"Since January, United Fresh has been in constant dialogue with Congress, the Administration and other interested stakeholders to convey that the fruit and vegetable industry needs trade agreements that facilitate trade, rather than erecting barriers that protect specific interests. This includes pursuit of trade agreements that eliminate unfair, discriminatory and non-science-based regulatory barriers that disadvantage the industry both here in North America and throughout the globe. United Fresh will work to ensure that changes to NAFTA reflect those principles," mentioned Guenther.

Both organizations look forward to working with its partners in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico on this issue to ensure an open and vibrant produce supply chain. “We look forward to examining effective ways NAFTA can be modernized," concluded Guenther.

For more information contact:
Rob Gerlsbeck
Canadian Produce Marketing Association
Tel: (613) 878-3312

Mary Coppola
United Fresh Produce Association

Publication date: 5/19/2017


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