WASHINGTON, D.C. — Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Bob Smith (R-OR), announced today that Canada has enacted a series of regulatory changes that ease restrictions of the Northwest Cattle Pilot Project (NWCPP).
Since leading an Agriculture Committee trade mission to Canada in March 1997, Smith has been working on the NWCCP with Canadian and U.S. officials to streamline import and inspection requirements to encourage reciprocal trade in live feeder cattle between the two countries.
In October 1997, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced implementation of the NWCPP. However, the initial regulations issued by Canada proved to be overly cumbersome and largely unworkable. Smith has since led efforts to ease these import restrictions so that U.S. producers can take full advantage of the Project. The changes announced today were developed in conjunction with producers and will significantly broaden the eligibility of U.S. ranchers.
"I'm pleased to announce that Canada has made the necessary regulatory changes to improve the Northwest Cattle Pilot Project. We have worked on this for a long time in an ongoing effort to reduce trade barriers with our neighbors to the north, and I'm confident that these new rules will allow increased U.S. exports," Smith said.
The regulations apply to cattle from U.S. states meeting disease-free requirements. Permits will be issued to certain U.S. feedlots which have already demonstrated this status. Currently, Montana and Washington are the only states participating in the NWCPP and have the opportunity to realize exports to Canada of up to 300,000 cattle. Expansion of the Project could eventually encompass all northern tier states.
Smith represents Oregon's Second Congressional District — which includes most of southern, eastern, and central Oregon — in the U.S. House of Representatives.