November 02, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
The Government of Canada recognizes that Canadian innovation has helped make our
country a leader in producing safe, high quality products and we are committed to
fostering innovation in the agricultural sector – here in Canada and beyond.
The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, is pleased that Canada
has joined Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala,
Honduras, Jordan, Paraguay, the United States, Uruguay, Vietnam, and the Secretariat
of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in supporting the International
Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision Biotechnology. The Statement
sends a strong message to governments around the world that we must strive for functional,
risk-based regulatory approaches that encourage innovation and facilitate trade
if we are to more effectively unlock the benefits from the latest scientific advances
such as gene editing.
Globally, farmers need access and the ability to choose new and better tools to
help address major worldwide challenges such as climate change, pest and disease
pressures, and food security. At the same time, consumer demand for healthier, higher
quality foods at affordable prices continues to grow, putting pressure on farmers
to be more efficient.
It is critical that regulatory frameworks be rooted in science, protect animal and
plant health as well as the environment, while ensuring only safe products get to
market. It is also important that they are transparent, predictable, and focus oversight
on those products that pose potential risk. Governments must create an enabling
environment in which all players are able to take advantage of advances in innovation.
In supporting the International Statement on Agricultural Applications of Precision
Biotechnology, Canada is committing to work with international partners to minimize
unnecessary barriers to trade related to the regulatory oversight of products of
"We are committed to supporting agricultural innovation, here in Canada and abroad,
recognizing its essential role in growing prosperous economies. Today, we are sending
a strong message that we stand ready to work with our global partners in support
of transparent, predictable and science-based regulatory approaches to reduce potential
trade disruptions and allow for the commercialization of precision biotechnology
products." - Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"Canada has a long and distinguished history as a global leader in developing and
supporting a rules-based international trading order. We will continue to work cooperatively
with other governments to minimize unnecessary barriers to trade, including those
related to the regulatory oversight of products of precision biotechnology." - Jim
Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification
- In 2017, 67 countries adopted agricultural biotechnology crops — 24 countries planted
and 43 additional countries imported. The same year, 189.8 million hectares of agricultural
biotechnology crops were planted by up to 17 million farmers.
- The major agricultural biotechnology crops currently grown globally are soybeans,
maize, cotton, and canola.
- Canada ranks fifth in the world in terms of area cultivated with agricultural biotechnology
crop varieties, behind the United States, Brazil, Argentina and India.