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Canada Joins Global Partners in Support of Agriculture Innovation and Trade

November 02, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

The Government of Canada recognizes that Canadian innovation has helped make our country a leader in producing safe, high quality products and we are committed to fostering innovation in the agricultural sector – here in Canada and beyond.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, is pleased that Canada has joined Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam, and the Secretariat of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in supporting the International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology.

The Statement sends a strong message to governments around the world that we must strive for functional, risk-based regulatory approaches that encourage innovation and facilitate trade if we are to more effectively unlock the benefits from the latest scientific advances such as gene editing.

Globally, farmers need access and the ability to choose new and better tools to help address major worldwide challenges such as climate change, pest and disease pressures, and food security. At the same time, consumer demand for healthier, higher quality foods at affordable prices continues to grow, putting pressure on farmers to be more efficient.

It is critical that regulatory frameworks be rooted in science, protect animal and plant health as well as the environment, while ensuring only safe products get to market. It is also important that they are transparent, predictable, and focus oversight on those products that pose potential risk. Governments must create an enabling environment in which all players are able to take advantage of advances in innovation.

In supporting the International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology, Canada is committing to work with international partners to minimize unnecessary barriers to trade related to the regulatory oversight of products of precision biotechnology.

“We are committed to supporting agricultural innovation, here in Canada and abroad, recognizing its essential role in growing prosperous economies. Today, we are sending a strong message that we stand ready to work with our global partners in support of transparent, predictable and science-based regulatory approaches to reduce potential trade disruptions and allow for the commercialization of precision biotechnology products,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Quick facts

  • In 2017, 67 countries adopted agricultural biotechnology crops — 24 countries planted and 43 additional countries imported. The same year, 189.8 million hectares of agricultural biotechnology crops were planted by up to 17 million farmers.
  • The major agricultural biotechnology crops currently grown globally are soybeans, maize, cotton, and canola.
  • Canada ranks fifth in the world in terms of area cultivated with agricultural biotechnology crop varieties, behind the United States, Brazil, Argentina and India.

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