Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Productive Day of Discussion with North American Leaders

On Tuesday, we kicked off the 20th Tri-National Agricultural Accord in Grapevine, Texas. I’m honored to be the host for this important conference and am proud that this is the first time the Accord has been held in our beautiful Lone Star State.

Yesterday, I co-chaired the Tri-National Agricultural Accord Rural Development working group, which was comprised of agriculture commissioners from the United States, Canada and Mexico. At the meeting, we discussed an innovative project between the business community in Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, a border city located in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico. The project coordinates the economic development efforts of both cities to create a powerful strategy for the enhancement of trade, jobs and the security of both our countries. This was a productive discussion and one I look forward to continuing with our trading partners in Mexico.

Earlier in the day, I participated in a meeting with all three countries to ensure agricultural trade and business can continue to flow freely, and that Mexico, the United States and Canada are able to trade on a level playing field. These working groups are extremely important, and good things have come from them in the past, including:
1) The live importation of beef cattle into Mexico from the United States and Canada.
2) An agreement between the United States and Canada to allow for the production and marketing of organic products to be sold as organic in both countries.
3) A resolution of the cross-border trucking issue to allow for trade to move more quickly across the border with oversight of certified and inspected trucks.

Tonight, we are in for a real treat as former Mexican President Vicente Fox will offer the keynote address. His experience should provide valuable insight into how we can all work together toward the mutual benefit of the United States, Mexico and Canada.

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