CANADIAN TRADE MISSION
This past week I traveled to Canada with a delegation of Kentucky governmental officials and business people on and agricultural trade mission. Needless to say, a trade mission to Canada, at this time, would cause apprehension among the delegates from the United States. With that being said the trip went smoothly. The Canadians were gracious and welcoming host that value United States business and investment. But most of all the Canadians value our friendship, as we do theirs.
At the present time there is a huge discussion going on between the United States, Canada and Mexico concerning the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA. NAFTA went in effect on January 1, 1994. The agreement between these countries would ultimately reduce most agricultural tariffs to zero over time. Since 1994 United States agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have gone from $9 billion in 1993 to nearly $40 billion in recent years, (Source, Kentucky World Trade Center, Canada 2018 Trade and Business Mission).
When it comes to Kentucky, we exported over $264 million in agricultural goods, products and live animals to Canada in 2017, (Source, Kentucky World Trade Center, Canada 2018 Trade and Business Mission). And that trade doesn't just go one way. Canada is exporting agricultural goods, live animals and agricultural products to the United States and Kentucky and record dollar amounts. According to the United States Census Bureau, Canada exported to United States $22.5 billion in agricultural and food products in 2016. So, the need for trade between Canada and United States is vital to American and Canadian agricultural interest.
In talking with Canadians about trade, their take on the current talks concerning tariffs with the United States was, “These things happen every now and then and this is too important for both countries not to get it resolved”. My guess is that in the near future that the present impasses that we are experiencing between our two countries will be resolved. The United States and Canada have been friends, allies and trading partners for too long for these impasses is not to be resolved. Trade is too important to all of us.