WASHINGTON, DC -- Representatives from the Canadian and United States potato industries met in Washington, DC recently to discuss a wide range of important issues which impact production and trade in and between the two countries.
U.S. Co-Chair, Dan Moss noted, "This meeting is an opportunity for producers from both countries to develop a deeper understanding of the fully integrated aspects of our respective industries and that we must work toward solutions that are mutually beneficial to each of our countries. Continuing to challenge each other will allow us to become stronger in our collective relationships and also in what we as producers do best...produce food."
Canadian Co-Chair, Keith Kuhl, expressed similar thoughts, noting "It bodes our industries well that we take the time to meet annually and look at ourselves openly. As trading neighbors we need to ensure that we continue to have confidence that we have the forum and willingness to engage in open dialogue to provide assurance to our industry that the open trade policies will continue to be of benefit."
Key discussion items touched on sanitary and phytosanitary-related matters, regional crop reports, progress on a potato project as an initiative under the NAFTA Technical Working Group on Pesticides, and the successful conclusion of a multi-year initiative to harmonize potato grade standards between the two countries.
"History has made us neighbors. A willingness to work together and discuss issues ensures that we continue to grow as trading partners and friends," said Kuhl. "We all understand how to produce top quality potatoes and we must ensure we continue to transfer this knowledge beyond the farm."
Committee members are committed tot he harmonization of all trading standards and encourage all levels of government to work with the committee to achieve this objective. The next meeting will be hosted by the Canadian Horticultural Council in Ottawa, Canada in November 2007.