On October 27, 2022, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Food Supply Council met with Natasha Santos, Head of Global Stakeholder Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at Bayer Crop Science and Vice-Chair of the Business@OECD’s Food and Agriculture Committee.
As the business representative to the OECD, the Business@OECD forum (BIAC) represents 38 member countries’ business associations in almost every economic sector, including agriculture and agri-food. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is BIAC’s Canadian representative.
The meeting between the Chamber’s Food Supply Council and BIAC was timely given the upcoming meeting of OECD Agriculture Ministers on November 3-4, which will be co-chaired by the Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food. This meeting will help set the agenda for the 2023 G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
Ms. Santos shared five BIAC priorities ahead of the ministerial, which include:
- Reducing the agricultural productivity gap between countries and doing so sustainably through adoption of existing technologies and capabilities in less developed regions
- Increased investment in agricultural science and technology as well as research and development through collaboration between public sector and private
- Alignment of agribusinesses with outcome-focused and evidence-based sustainability objectives through development of digital tools and data analytics throughout the supply chain
- Alignment of domestic agriculture incentives through support programs that facilitate sustainable productivity growth
- Introduction of trade facilitation measures and removing trade restrictions (e.g., non-tariff trade barriers and regulatory divergence across countries)
Members of the Food Supply Council agreed with these proposals and suggested that the federal government should be promoting Canadian best practices at the OECD ministerial. Specifically, Canada should be proud of its record on environmental stewardship and the agriculture and agri-food’s sector ability to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the Council highlighted the need for targeted domestic focus on industrial R&D to incentivize private-sector investment, which will make Canada more globally competitive.
Finally, the meeting concluded with the proposal that Canada should be doing everything in its power to promote a rules-based international trade system. Whether it’s through exploring opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region, CPTPP, or at the World Trade Organization, or beyond, Canada should take the lead in removing trade restrictions and eliminating non-tariff trade barriers, which will help meet our export-based objectives.