NAFTA Effort Progresses

Progress continues in developing and gaining approval for North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) crop protection product labels and residue tolerances.

At the recent NAFTA Technical Working Group (TWG) Government-Stakeholder Meeting, the work group — made up of U.S., Mexican and Canadian growers, agricultural retailers, and government and industry representatives (including CropLife America) — discussed and evolved strategies for implementation of NAFTA labels. It was part of a coordinated effort to jointly register crop protection products, thereby speeding up the processes that would enhance cross-border movement of products between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

In addition to discussion between US, Canadian, and Mexican registrants and growers and regulators from U.S. EPA, Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), and the Mexican health directorate, COFEPRIS, regarding NAFTA labels, NAFTA TWG participants and stakeholders provided their perspectives on progress toward grower priorities for resolving trade irritants caused by differences between Canadian maximum residue limits (MRLs) and U.S. tolerances for pesticide residues on crops.

CropLife America has pledged financial support to the priority database for the 2009 fiscal year, and technical support in coordinating registrant involvement and expanding the crops covered in the database, currently limited to specialty crops. Additionally, USDA is close to providing more grant funds to also support this project.

Already, strides have been made in resolving many of potential trade irritants as well as providing a list of its corresponding priorities for resolutions of differences to integrate U.S. and Canadian information into a single, fully functional, and accessible database for all stakeholders. In the future, the database may include multiple geographic regions where trade barriers may be related to pesticide residue standards.

"This database has been useful in separating MRL disparities that may present future trade barriers from those that will not," said John Jachetta, regulatory sciences and government affairs business leader, Dow AgroSciences LLC. "First-pass evaluations indicate that the number of issues that actually need to be addressed may be much smaller than originally estimated."

(Source: CropLife America)

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