SM Groups Echo Government Disapproval of WTO Draft Text
By The Dairy Farmers of CanadaFeatures Business & Policy Trade
July 16, 2008, Ottawa, Ont. – Canadian dairy, poultry and egg farmers echo the Canadian government's objections to the latest in a series of draft modalities produced by Crawford Falconer, chair of the WTO's agriculture committee.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) proposals threaten the future of supply management and the $42 billion in economic activity generated by their sectors annually. More than 250,000 Canadians, many of them in rural Canada, rely on supply management for employment.
"The text issued in Geneva on July 10, 2008 does not address the serious problems that Canada expressed with Ambassador Falconer's May 19 modalities draft," said David Fuller, chairman of Chicken Farmers of Canada.
"Supply management depends on three equally important pillars-import controls, producer pricing and production planning," said Laurent Souligny, chair of the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency. "If Mr. Falconer's proposals were accepted, the import controls pillar would be wiped out, devastating the sectors that rely on supply management," he added.
"We appreciate the support and seriousness with which federal and
provincial ministers are taking these WTO agriculture negotiations," said
Jacques Laforge, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada. At the
federal/provincial/territorial agriculture ministers meeting in Quebec City
July 9-11, all ministers indicated that they will be travelling to Geneva, or
be on call to travel, for the WTO Ministerial meeting beginning on July 21.
Mark Davies, chair of the Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency, said it was gratifying to see the Canadian government maintain its strong stand in support of its farmers. Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz, in a statement issued July 10th, said: "Canada continues to stand strong for our supply managed sectors. We firmly oppose proposals for any over quota tariff cuts or tariff quota expansion for sensitive products. The Conservative Government is committed to supporting supply management both at home and abroad."
"Our federal government is standing on solid ground in continuing to
fight at the WTO and we trust they will deliver the results supply management
needs," Davies continued.
Gyslain Loyer, chair of Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, said dairy,
poultry and egg farmers will work closely with Mr. Ritz and newly-appointed
International Trade Minister Michael Fortier to ensure that the wide gaps in
Ambassador Falconer's text are improved to provide a fair and balanced outcome that meets the needs of all Canadian farmers. Dairy, poultry and egg farmers will join federal and provincial ministers in Geneva from July 19.
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