The federal government has created a Federal Ministerial Coordinating Committee on P.E.I. Potatoes to focus on finding a solution to the current trade issues, a Jan. 7 news release says.
“It is a top priority for our Government to reopen the American border for P.E.I. fresh potatoes and support the farmers affected by this difficult situation. For many weeks already, my cabinet colleagues and I have joined efforts to ensure all options are explored,” Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri food, says in the release.
The release says the committee be an important forum to exchange information and further develop strategies to address the issue, while minimizing impacts of potato wart on the P.E.I. potato sector. In November, potato exports to the United States from P.E.I. were halted after potato wart was discovered for the second year in a row on the Island.
The committee will examine a range of issues, such as updates on the technical discussions to provide scientific assurance to the United States, the delivery of programs to support farmers, the progress of the Industry-Government Potato Working Group, and advocacy efforts to access international markets, the release says. The first meeting will take place next week.
It will be co-chaired by Bibeau and Ginette Petitpas Taylor, federal minister of official languages and minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Committee members include:
- Dominic LeBlanc, federal minister of intergovernmental affairs, infrastructure and communities
- Mary Ng, federal minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development
- Lawrence MacAulay, federal minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence