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Government continues to stand up for Canadian agriculture at WTO

Minister of Agriculture, Gerry Ritz, has concerns with some of the elements of a draft outlined by the Chair of the World Trade Organization agriculture negotiations. Specifically, Ritz is disappointed in the lack of progress in the area of sensitive products and he maintains Canada's support for supply managed sectors.


May 21, 2008
By AAFC

Topics

May 20, 2008

Ottawa, Ont. – The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and
Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today issued the following statement in
response to the release of a revised draft modalities text on agriculture by
Crawford Falconer, Chair of the World Trade Organization agriculture
negotiations.

"Canada has serious concerns with
some elements of the Chair’s draft text. I am particularly disappointed that
there has been so little progress in the area of sensitive products, despite my
direct intervention with Mr. Falconer to express Canada’s firm position on this
issue.

"Canada continues to stand strong
for Canadian supply managed sectors. The fact remains that Canada firmly
opposes proposals for any over quota tariff cuts or tariff quota expansion for
sensitive products. This remains a fundamental and consistent element of
Canada’s negotiating position.

"Canada has
been very clear with all WTO Members and Mr. Falconer about its priorities for
Canadian agriculture in the Doha Round.

"In terms of our exporters, the
Government of Canada is encouraged that this text continues to move toward an
aggressive tariff reduction formula; substantial cuts to and strengthened
disciplines on trade-distorting domestic support; and the elimination of all
forms of export subsidies. Canada will continue to create new opportunities and
a more level playing field for Canadian producers and farm families who depend
on exports.

"As we move forward, I want to
emphasize that this Government will continue to strongly support supply
management. Canada welcomes this latest effort by Mr. Falconer to help advance
the agriculture negotiations. But as the talks proceed, Canada's position on
sensitive products remains firm. We will be pressing hard for an outcome from
the Doha Round which is good for all of Canadian agriculture, including both
our export oriented and supply managed industries."