The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement still has quite a few hurdles to clear before it can be put into place, but that didn’t stop the agriculture leaders of the three countries from agreeing this week that a concerted effort is needed now to combat African swine fever.
On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hosted his Canadian and Mexican counterparts at USDA’s Annual Agriculture Outlook Forum. While steel and aluminum tariffs are still the thorn in trade discussion, all three leaders were in concession on keeping out the devastating disease.
“Can the North American countries work together to protect their farmers and their agricultural industries from pests and infectious diseases such as African swine fever?” Perdue asks.
Mexican Secretary of Agriculture Víctor Villalobos says they need to.
“There is more and more risk because of the communication, because of the export of product, because of trade,” Villalobos says. “We have to strengthen our relationship and we have to strengthen our technical capabilities.”
“I’m very pleased it is brought up here because I fully understand the devastation that can happen if this enters the North American market and any of our countries,” says Canadian Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay.
While ASF may be stealing the thunder now, Perdue says the three countries should take a united approach to any foreign animal disease or pest.
“African swine fever has the most press right now, but the pests will keep coming,” Perdue says.