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Canada: Minister advocates for Ontario's agri-food sector at NAFTA talks

Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, issued the following statement after attending NAFTA renegotiations to meet with trade negotiators and stakeholders to advocate for Ontario's agri-food sector:

"Promoting free trade and economic cooperation with the U.S. and Mexico is a priority for Ontario. It drives economic prosperity and creates millions of good jobs across North America. In fact, Ontario trades more than $30 billion (CAD) per year in agri-food products with the U.S. and Mexico combined.

That's why I travelled to Mexico City for the latest round of NAFTA renegotiations to advocate on behalf of Ontario's agri-food sector.

I had the opportunity to meet with Canada's Chief NAFTA Negotiator and Canada's Chief Agriculture Negotiator to reiterate that a renegotiated NAFTA must 'do no harm' while ensuring Ontario's interests remain top-of-mind.

My Quebec counterpart, Minister Laurent Lessard, and I also held a series of joint meetings where we agreed to work together to promote Canadian export trade interests while continuing to defend the integrity of supply management.

We also met with a range of representatives from both the supply managed and non-supply managed sector. I would like to thank them for their candid insights and perspectives on the opportunities and challenges we face as NAFTA renegotiations progress.

Ontario continues to stand with the federal government in defending the interests of hard-working people across the province and country. The unconventional proposals made by the U.S. in the last round of negotiations are unacceptable because they would roll back the benefits provided by the current NAFTA in fundamental ways. That is why they cannot be the basis of NAFTA negotiations.

As I continue to meet with political, business and industry leaders in all three countries, I will continue to reiterate that a final NAFTA must work in the best interests of all three nations and must be a 'win-win-win'."
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