North American Free Trade Agreement Technical Working Group on Pesticides
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Technical Working Group (TWG) on Pesticides was established under the NAFTA provisions on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures. The role of the Technical Working Group on Pesticides is to serve as a focal point for addressing pesticide issues arising in the context of liberalized trade among the NAFTA countries. In fact, NAFTA ushered in a new level of cooperation among the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States. The North American Free Trade Agreement highlights the importance of promoting trade and regional cooperation among governments. The agreement has also established various mechanisms for the governments to collaborate on issues of key importance.
Since its creation in 1996, the Technical Working Group has maintained a primary focus on facilitating cost-effective pesticide regulation and trade among the three countries. The Technical Working Group does this through harmonization and work sharing, while recognizing the environmental, ecological and human health objectives of NAFTA.
Cooperation has included a wide range of activities:
- Sharing information
- Undertaking collaborative scientific work
- Forging common data requirements
- Collaborating on risk assessment or compliance methods
- Carrying out joint reviews
- Developing common NAFTA or international standards.
The Technical Working Group is comprised of individuals from the member governments, but works closely with external stakeholders. The TWG is led by an Executive Board that provides overall leadership and policy direction. The Executive Board members are:
- Director of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Office of Pesticide Program (OPP),
- Executive Director of the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), and
- General Director for Agri-foods, Aquaculture, and Fisheries in the Mexican agriculture ministry known as Secretatia de Agricultura, Ganaderia, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentacion (SAGARPA)
The TWG Secretariat provides overall coordination of the TWG's activities and consists of staff-level representatives from all three countries.
Each NAFTA partner maintains their own website.
Strategies, Accomplishments and Planning
The North American Initiative for Pesticides lays the foundation for the activities of the NAFTA Technical Working Group on Pesticides.
A series of strategic plans support the TWG's goal of creating an aligned North American registration system for pesticides and products treated with pesticides. Every five years the accomplishments of the TWG are assessed and new strategic plans are adopted.
The strategic plans are implemented through a series of projects on specific issues, led by senior-level scientific and regulatory managers that detail co-operative efforts and work plans on specific issues. Project sheets for active issues and completion sheets for recently completed projects are available.
Often projects result in the publication of guidance documents which communicate to stakeholder's specific aspects of issues and how to access new processes that have been developed in support of a single North American market for pesticides and treated commodities.
To maintain open communications, the NAFTA TWG on Pesticides meets twice a year. First, a government only meeting is held for the Executive Board and other regulatory officials. Then, a government-stakeholder meeting takes place with a broad number of participants-the Executive Board, regulatory officials, growers, industry and public interest groups.
Meeting summaries are published to report on key outcomes of the meetings.
Consistent with Government principles of openness and transparency, archived meeting summaries are available upon request by contacting the Pest Management Information Service. You may also consult the United States Environmental Protection Agency website.
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