The NGFA and North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) submitted a joint statement Nov. 26 in response to a request for information on how the federal government, through the United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), could reduce or eliminate unnecessary regulatory differences between the United States and Canada to facilitate trade between the two countries.
The United States and Canada have a symbiotic trading relationship with ongoing market and regulatory cooperation that has allowed North America to become a leader and supplier of choice for customers throughout the world, the organizations noted. Continued cooperation through the RCC and as part of the implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will continue to be vitally important for future success, they added.
Many important provisions increasing regulatory cooperation between the countries were included in the USMCA text, making “significant steps to promote a more transparent and reliable trading environment in North America,” NGFA and NAEGA said.
In particular, NGFA and NAEGA said they believe the RCC should work to support the implementation of the following USMCA provisions and standards:
- Establishment of a rapid response mechanism to facilitate trade during adverse import checks involving sanitary and phytosanitary issues;
- Enhanced technical consultations for sanitary and phytosanitary disputes;
- Regulatory coherence;
- Promoting science-based standards, risk management and risk assessment; and
- Inclusion of steps to reduce the likelihood of trade disruptions in products of agricultural biotechnology and other seed-breeding innovations.
“We believe that utilizing the RCC to support and facilitate implementation of these rules and procedures will go a long way to achieving the council’s mandate through increased regulatory alignment and transparency, greater alignment, similar and consistent approaches in regulations, recognition of regulatory practices, and smarter, less burdensome regulations in specific sectors,” said NGFA and NAEGA.
The statement also outlined some issues within the agreement made between the U. S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Health Canada to enable collaboration as the two countries move toward implementing their respective hazard communication standards.
The NGFA and NAEGA in particular cited different definitions between the two countries of the term “combustible dust” and differing classification of grains and animal feeds, both of which would create potential regulatory compliance hurdles and unnecessary costs.
“Given the conflicting definitions of combustible dust between the United States and Canada, there is concern that U.S. companies will have to prepare different SDSs (safety data sheets) and labels for shipments bound for Canada than are used for shipments transported within the United States,” according to the statement.