For release: February 11, 2004
Great Lakes Regional Forum on Agriculture
to Focus on Border Issues
TORONTO - Acting on its commitment to work with other jurisdictions in areas of common interest, the McGuinty government is hosting the Great Lakes Regional Forum on Agriculture tomorrow in Toronto.
"This forum is an important opportunity for us to build stronger, closer ties with our U.S. counterparts," said Steve Peters, Minister of Agriculture and Food. "Through the day's sessions we can develop common understandings with our immediate trading partners around the Great Lakes, for the benefit of Ontario's economy."
Representatives of Canadian and U.S. departments of agriculture will be discussing issues of mutual concern, including cross-border trade, BSE, bioterrorism and regional marketing approaches.
"We will be looking for the support of our U.S. neighbours to move quickly toward normalizing trade in live cattle and beef products," said Peters. "We'll also be talking about border protocols designed to address bioterrorism, to ensure that new border measures recognize the unique interdependence of our jurisdictions on trade."
Two-way trade in agricultural goods between Ontario and the U.S. Great Lake states is worth over $7 billion.
Invited to this year's forum are representatives of the federal and Quebec agriculture ministries and the state agriculture departments of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
"The genuine support we've been shown by our U.S. counterparts in
managing the challenges facing our respective agriculture industries is
extremely heartening," said Peters. "Each opportunity we have
to communicate openly with our immediate trading partners on key issues,
including a North American solution to BSE, brings us a step closer to
re-opening the border."
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