CANADA - The General Manager of Manitoba Pork says initiatives designed to promote trade and foster improved relations among Canadian and US pork producers have proved their value and will remain a focus moving forward, writes Bruce Cochrane.
In January delegations travelled to Minneapolis for the Minnesota Pork Congress and to Des Moines for the Iowa Pork Congress as part of Manitoba Pork's annual trade advocacy initiative underway since 2006.
Manitoba Pork General Manager Andrew Dickson recalls a 2003 to 2005 trade case in which the organization hired lawyers at a cost of six million dollars to represent the interests of Canadian producers and more recently Country of Origin labelling and the goal of these trade missions to avoid these types of situations.
Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork:
Fortunately through the help of the federal government of Canada and Mexico got involved we've been able to resolve this.
We've had good allies in the United States and, because of our relationships we've had with the local groups like the Iowa Pork Producers and Minnesota Pork Producers, they put pressure to try and get this matter resolved.
Minnesota and Iowa, between the two of them, those two states account for almost 50 percent of all the hog production in the United States.
By focusing on them at the state level that sort of filtered up into Washington.
I can't emphasize enough that in the US most politics is local and there's no question their representatives in Washington are very attuned to what's happening in their home states so that's why we focus on them.
Dickson says the US and Canadian industries are dealing with a range of common issues such as disease management, traceability and pressure from special interest groups and, by building good working relationships with producers in key states, we can build trust and work toward common goals.
He suggests the experience with Country of Origin Labelling has brought the pork organizations in Canada and the US together and we need to learn from that and focus more on opening up international markets.
ThePigSite News Desk