Sometimes Canada isn’t included in export figures because it’s not like sending product to the Far East or Europe. It’s more like sending it to another state.
But the produce industry knows better.
American sellers aren’t protected from deals gone bad in Canada like they are across state lines.
For decades U.S. and Canadian produce industry leaders have been working with the Canadian government to create a financial tool that works like the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, in protecting sellers against non-payment.
Canadian fruit and vegetable marketers had gotten preferential treatment in the U.S. under PACA, but that was under the assumption that the Canadian government was working on its equivalent of PACA.
Finally, the produce industry and the USDA have had enough. As of Oct. 1, Canadian produce sellers no longer have preferential treatment, and the easiest thing in the world is to blame the Canadian government for its years of inaction.
But it doesn’t make it any better for the produce industry. For instance, Canadian produce sellers now have to have a surety bond that’s twice the amount of the claim, so selling $100,000 worth of product will have to have a bond of $200,000.
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association has been working for many years with its own government and is understandably frustrated, and its lack of effectiveness in persuading its government is embarrassing.
There are plans for early October meetings between U.S. and Canadian officials.
It’s too late for promises.
Canada needs a PACA-like system now.
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