Each year, EDA participates in the Pacific Northwest Economic Summit. The Summit provides a tremendous opportunity to engage with U.S. and Canadian legislators as well as agricultural and trade officials to discuss pressing issues on both sides of the border. Speakers of note this year included Under Secretary Bill Northey with the United State Department of Agriculture, MLA Larry Doke of Saskatchewan, Colin Robertson with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and Ambassador David Wilkins.
Not surprisingly, much of the discussion at this year’s Summit focused around pending NAFTA negotiations and the parties’ respective objectives. The experts in attendance staunchly disagreed about the potential outcomes of the deal in the coming months with some suggesting a deal is well within reach and some suggesting bi-lateral agreements are the more likely possibility. Like EDA, PNWER has been actively lobbying for the modernization (but not elimination) of NAFTA. EDA supports the modernization of NAFTA to enhance existing economic relationships and to enhance and integrate supply chains and economies.
In addition to discussions about NAFTA modernization, U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum were also “front and center” during discussions. EDA has been advocating for the exemption of Canadian steel aluminum because of the interconnected and interdependent nature of the U.S. and Canadian agricultural and equipment industries. Most attendees of the conference seemed to agree that protectionism by tariff will seriously damage the vital economic partnership between the U.S. and Canada.
Other working groups at the Summit discussed key issues such as infrastructure investment and workforce development. If you would like to see more information about the Summit, follow EDA on Facebook or Twitter!