Canada’s Prime Minister and President Obama last month announced a “Joint Action Plan” that created the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) that has the mission of increasing and improving regulatory coordination and cooperation between the two countries.

RCC’s mission includes initiatives focused on improvements in the trade of poultry, meat, and a variety of other goods and services. More specifically for poultry and meat, the plan’s initiatives will create a common meat cut nomenclature system; have better regulatory alignment tools to jointly maintain trade; streamline the certification requirements for meat and poultry, including where possible, the reduction or elimination of redundant certification, data elements, and administrative procedures for shipments flowing between Canada and the United States.

Initiatives will also include enhancing equivalence agreements for meat safety systems to streamline, simplify, and, where possible, reduce import and administrative procedures, while maintaining public health outcomes; develop common approaches to food safety, in light of food safety modernization efforts in both countries, to jointly enhance the safety of the Canada-U.S. food supply and minimize the need for routine food safety surveillance inspection activities in each other’s country; and establish mutual reliance on jointly acceptable food safety laboratory recognition criteria, test results, and methodologies to ensure that food safety laboratory testing conducted in one country is acceptable to regulators in both countries and facilitate cross-utilization of laboratory results by industry and regulators.

Expected benefits for poultry and meat from implementing the plan are reduced costs by using electronic entry clearance; eliminating border re-inspection requirement for food safety; harmonized nomenclature and use of veterinary drugs as well as testing procedure and laboratories; common zoning usage for foreign animal disease will formalize the current informal arrangement of provinces and states on quarantine areas, providing confidence to make supply arrangements; and reduce the possibility of future unilateral action by the U.S. or Canadian government that could impact cross-border trade.

Regulatory Cooperation Council meetings are to be held quarterly to review and discuss progress of the working groups.  The Canadian announcement is available here and the U.S White House announcement is available here.