U.S.-Canada agriculture partnerships make sense, benefit both countries
Laramie – “Canada is very much a trading nation, and we are very dependent on trade,” commented Consul and Trade Commissioner for the Government of Canada Pamela Rose.
Rose emphasized that there are a number of similarities between the U.S. and Canada, and our countries work closely. She spoke during breakout sessions at the 2012 AgriFuture Conference in Laramie on Oct. 17.
Rose listed a number of issues that Canadian agriculture faces that are similar to those seen in the U.S.
“Young producers see challenges, including access to capital. The debt to asset ratio for operators under 40 is higher than for those over 40,” she said. “The public perception of agriculture, family farm succession, suitable and affordable land, urbanization, learning and skills development and profitability are all the same kinds of things as you are talking about.”
As a result of the commonalities, Rose commented, “The key message is cooperation between Canada and the U.S. We are each trying to grow our piece of the pie, but by cooperating, we can probably end up with a bigger pie in the end.”
Trade as a share of Canada’s gross domestic products was over 63 percent in 2011.
She continued, “and thirty-nine percent of our ag goods are exported to the U.S.”
While trade represents an important role in Canada’s economy, the country also represents the largest export market for the U.S.
“Canada/U.S. trade is a little different than other countries,” said Rose, speaking of the volume and importance of exports. “We, as a foreign country, consume more U.S. products than any other country in the world, and that is also true for ag products.”
She emphasized her point by saying that about $1 million in goods and services flow across the border each minute.
“The U.S. sells more to Canada than the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and China combined,” she says, adding that the same holds true for the state level.
“At the end of the day, this is a lot of money,” she said. “Eight million jobs in this country depend on trade and investment with Canada.”
“A lot of trade between Canada and the U.S. is done in terms of making things together,” Rose said, again emphasizing the importance of the relationship. “We have supply chain efficiencies to make both countries more competitive.”
She also looks at these efficiencies as also helping to keep jobs in the U.S. and Canada.
For example, a number of companies manufacture and source ingredients on both sides of the border.
“We are a stable and friendly supply of oil, as well,” Rose added.
“The U.S. imported last year 2.7 million barrels per day of crude oil and refined products, representing 24 percent of total U.S. petroleum imports,” she said. “Our relationship is very mutually integrated.”
“We have this relationship because it makes economic sense,” Rose continued. “We have similar cultures and languages.”
As a result, the opportunity to continue an advanced trade relationship is very important.
“Trade is not a zero-sum game – it is not measuring exports versus imports and who is ahead,” she sad. “For Canada and the U.S., we are making things together, and we are contributing to stronger mutual competitiveness.”
On a more local level, Wyoming also sees direct benefit from trade relationships with Canada.
“We are the top export market for Wyoming,” Rose noted. “Wyoming sends beer, gums and resins derived from seeds, beans, sauces and condiments and sunflower seeds.”
Wyoming also receives pastries, mixes and dough and live plants from Canada.
“For 35 states, we are the number one export market,” Rose commented. “For Wyoming, if you combine your next top three export markets, you sell more to Canada than those.”
Last year, $9 million in agricultural exports went to Canada from Wyoming, said Rose.
“It is important that we not be complacent out our relationship,” Rose added. “I really look forward to continuing to work with Wyoming in growing our partnership.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.