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Quebec and Ontario governments defend supply management

Quebec and Ontario governments are concerned that a new draft negotiating text, issued by the World Trade Organization (WTO) does not remain consistent with the interests of supply-managed producers.


May 26, 2008
By Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs

May 23, 2008

Quebec Minister for
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Laurent Lessard, and Ontario Minister for
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Leona Dombrowsky, share a common concern
that the content of a new draft negotiating text, issued by the World Trade
Organization (WTO) chair of the agriculture negotiations earlier this week,
remains inconsistent with the interests of supply-managed producers.

"The new WTO text
falls far short of the protections being sought for Canadian milk, poultry and
eggs, three supply-managed commodities," indicated Minister Lessard.
"I urge that the federal government obtain the necessary flexibilities to
safeguard supply management."

"The Organization's
proposals do not align with the stated negotiating objectives of the federal
government," said Minister Dombrowsky. "It is essential that the
interests of supply-managed producers be accounted for in any new rules
affecting agriculture."

"There are reasons to
be concerned since, according to federal representatives, the negotiations on
agricultural trade rules could be concluded as early as June of this
year," explained Minister Lessard.

Both ministers vowed to raise this matter at the next federal-provincial
meeting of agriculture ministers taking place in Toronto on May 30,
2008
. At
that meeting, they will be insisting that the federal government vigorously
defend supply management throughout the remainder of the WTO negotiations.

In Quebec and Ontario, the supply-managed sectors account
for farm gate receipts worth a combined $4.9 billion, which represents 39 per
cent and 28 per cent of the respective provincial farm gate totals.