Perdue traveling to Toronto today

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will travel to Toronto today to meet with Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay and other Canadian officials to discuss priority agricultural issues, USDA said Sunday.

USDA did not say what subjects Perdue would discuss with the Canadian officials or mention specifically either the conflict over Canadian dairy policies that U.S. producers say have resulted in a cutback of Canadian imports of U.S. dairy products or the softwood timber dispute.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said he hopes both those disputes are resolved before the U.S., Canada and Mexico begin renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In a media advisory, USDA said, “As two of the world’s largest agricultural producers with a shared border, Canada and the United States are key markets for each other’s agricultural products. In 2016, the United States exported $20.2 billion of agricultural products to Canada, making it our second-largest agricultural export market, while Canada exported $21 billion of agricultural products to the United States.”

“The bilateral U.S.-Canada relationship is important to the prosperity of both of our countries and I look forward to strengthening this bond with our neighbors to the north moving forward,” Perdue said.

In addition to the meetings, Perdue will participate in the 10th anniversary conference of the Southeastern United States-Canadian Provinces Alliance, of which he was a founding member while serving as governor of Georgia.

At a downtown Toronto restaurant, he will also kick off what will be a two-week-long event showcasing U.S. foods and beverages.

This will be Perdue’s first international trip as secretary.