Secretary Ross Signs Landmark Trade Agreement

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross signed a cooperative trade agreement with officials from the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) in Mexico City. This agreement is a follow-up to the Governor’s Trade Mission that occurred earlier this year.

The trade agreement includes a number of trade priorities that address such diverse issues as cross-border trade delays, technical dialogue related to beef and organic trade, agricultural cooperative extension outreach, and climate change collaboration.

SAGARPA Mexico

“Mexico is a vital partner for California agriculture,” said Secretary Ross. “Further collaboration between our countries will enhance the opportunities within the agricultural sector for farmers and ranchers in both of our nations.”

The agreement follows months of dialogue between CDFA and SAGARPA that culminated in a meeting between Secretary Ross and Secretary Enrique Martinez at the Produce Marketing Association trade show in Anaheim at the end of October.

California is the largest agricultural producer and exporter in the nation, with more than $18 billion in food and agricultural exports. Mexico is California’s fifth largest export destination valued at $888 million. Over the last ten years, agricultural exports to Mexico have increased three-fold.

California and Mexico – a win-win relationship

By: Karen Ross, California Agriculture Secretary

It speaks volumes that during our meetings in Mexico, the notion of “ganar-ganar,” or a “win-win” relationship was mentioned more than once. Our discussions have focused not only on building stronger trade relationships between our two markets, but in also in capitalizing on the shared resources of our people, climate and economy. A strong and growing Mexican market is a win for California and a win for Mexico.

In our meeting with Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food  we discussed the great opportunities for cooperation between our two markets that can have long lasting benefits for both of our economies. Working collaboratively to solve cross-border trade delays that impact businesses on both sides of the border is an issue that can be resolved. Further, we wish to explore opportunities that jointly leverage our resources and production capacity.

We can no longer consider a California/Mexico divide. We need to see how cooperation can benefit us both in the long-run. I’ve committed to SAGARPA that within the next 60 days we will have progress in moving forward with a collaborative relationship that involves the public and business sectors finding solutions to cross-border issues that benefit both markets and producers.

Following our meetings with SAGARPA we had the pleasure of meeting with Walmart Mexico and Central America. The company also stressed cooperation and a “win-win” relationship that California and Mexico can share.

In celebrating the successes of the 20th Anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), we should also celebrate the ongoing trade benefits of this relationship. Demonstrating this success, Walmart shared that their imports of U.S. produce has increased more than 10 percent each year for the last three years. This underscores that Mexico’s economy is growing and California is benefiting.

I look forward to furthering our trade relationship and cooperation with Mexico. It can be a “win-win” relationship like no other.