Minister Leal Strengthens Two-Way Trade Relationships with New York and Pennsylvania
Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, released the following statement after meeting with government and agri-food business leaders in Albany, New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania:
"Ontario continues to build strong relationships with our U.S. trading partners. Agri-food trade between Ontario and the U.S. is a significant driver for economic prosperity and creates thousands of good jobs on both sides of the border. In 2016, two-way agri-food trade between Ontario and both New York and Pennsylvania totaled nearly $4.3 billion.
While in New York, I engaged in a productive discussion with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul at the 2017 Northeastern Association of State Departments of Agriculture conference in Cooperstown. I also had the opportunity to sit down with the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Richard Ball, along with representatives from nine other Northeastern U.S. states, to engage in a roundtable discussion focused on topics such as animal health, dairy, regulatory harmonization and food safety.
In Pennsylvania, I met with members of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce & Capital Region Economic Development Corporation. We all agreed that businesses in Ontario and Pennsylvania rely on agri-food trade to ensure their financial and business success. Our two-way trade relationship also allows access to additional customers for businesses in Ontario and Pennsylvania, and ensures that food products and ingredients are able to move freely between our borders.
A key to our shared prosperity is continued free trade between our jurisdictions. The upcoming renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an opportunity to modernize a longstanding agreement so that it can continue to benefit Canadian and U.S. workers, businesses and communities both now and in the future.
I would like to thank government leaders and businesses from New York and Pennsylvania for meeting with me this week and for their warm hospitality.
I will continue to promote the opportunities that Ontario's agri-food industry has to offer to help further grow our economy for the mutual benefit of our workers, producers, agri-food businesses and customers."