Agricultural trade and political entanglements have always gone hand-in-glove. 2018 was a year that highlighted that fact with agricultural industries across North America.
This past year was a rollercoaster ride that’s not over yet. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) put dairy production and politics at center-stage. While the USMCA negations concluded in November, final official ratification is still to receive approvals.
This past summer, a single tweet from Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland caused an international incident, provoking the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to put a halt to Canadian beef exports.
On August 2, 2018, Freeland tweeted, in English and French, calling for the release of two jailed Saudi human rights activists. The following day, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department sent another tweet urging Saudi Arabia to “immediately release” those and other activists. The reaction from Saudi Arabia was swift.
Hours after the Arabic tweet, the Saudi government recalled its ambassador, barred Canada’s envoy from returning and placed a ban on new trade.
Here’s the Canadian perspective:
AUDIO: Profit Matters 1-9-19