Premier John Horgan and Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, have issued the following statement in response to the new trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico:
“British Columbia welcomes the announcement that Canada, the United States and Mexico have reached an agreement on the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). We congratulate all parties on their efforts on this important agreement for the continent.
“The USMCA is good for Canada as it provides important stability for business and our economy. Our supply chains remain intact and we are pleased the independent dispute-resolution system will be preserved, as it has shown to be an essential mechanism for challenging U.S. tariffs on Canadian softwood and other exports. At the same time, we are concerned about the possible impacts on the nearly 8,000 people working in British Columbia’s dairy industry.
“B.C. worked closely with the federal government and agreed to amend the measures relating to wine in grocery stores. This policy has been controversial for some time. We knew this was a problem that we were going to have to fix. We will continue to work with the Canadian government to resolve it in a manner that best protects our wine industry.
“While the tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum remain, we continue to urge the federal government to resolve this issue, now that USMCA is in place.
“We proactively met with trade officials in Ottawa in May to advance B.C.’s interests in a new trilateral agreement. B.C. sent a provincial official to every negotiating round to represent B.C. and has been in constant contact with Canadian officials over the past few weeks. Our government has strongly advocated on behalf of the hard-working people in this province’s many economic sectors, as part of the renegotiation.
“We look forward to working with the federal government as we review the agreement’s details, and we thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her team for their dedicated efforts to negotiate this agreement.”