On November 3-5, 2015, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Technical Working Group (TWG) on Pesticides, established in 1997 to streamline certain pesticide shipments between Canada (CN), Mexico (MX), and the United States (U.S.), held a meeting hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Durham, North Carolina. NAFTA TWG states that its primary objective “is to develop relevant and cost-effective pesticide regulation and trade among the three countries and meet the environmental, ecological, and human health objectives of NAFTA.” Further, TWG partners address trade issues, national regulatory and scientific capacity, governmental review burden, and coordination of regulatory decision making and industry burden reduction.
The topics discussed at its November meeting, a government-stakeholder meeting with the Executive Board, regulatory officials, and interested stakeholders such as growers, industry, and public interest groups, were:
Five-Year Strategic Plan and NAFTA Industry Working Group (IWG) Updates. The presentation was as follows:
- Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) and NAFTA TWG IWG Update and Potential Coordination of Activities (Lead: U.S. - John Abbott, Syngenta).
Science and Policy Initiatives:
- Updates on Pollinator Protection in the U.S., CN, and MX. The presentations were as follows:
MX’s input regarding “US EPA Guidance for Assessing Pesticide Risks to Bees” (Lead: MX -
SEMARNAT or SENASICA);
- Re-evaluation of Neonicotinoid Pesticides Update in the U.S. and Canada. The presentation was as follows:
- Minor Use Program Developments. The presentations were as follows:
“Joint Minor Use Updates” (Leads: U.S. - Susan Lewis and CN - Margherita Conti); and
- Maximum Residue Limits (MRL)/Codex. The presentations were as follows:
Stakeholder Presentations and Discussions:
- Stakeholders’ Lessons Learned on Joint Reviews including Industry’s Experiences and Prospectives of Joint Reviews. The presentations were as follows:
- Progress of the TWG’s joint action plan and receipt of input on the next phase of activities.
- Discussion on Future Collaboration Regarding Joint Review.
The presentations, many of which address issues of significant controversy and debate, are of interest to many in industry and to other stakeholders.