WTO Proposals Must be Rejected
By Jim Knisley
The World Trade Organization (WTO) proposals released Feb. 12 must be rejected, Phil Boyd, executive director of the CTMA, told the Ontario Turkey Producers’ Marketing Board annual meeting March 7 in London, Ont.
The draft proposals perpetuate the imbalances that came out of the Uruguay Round by proposing less than satisfactory changes to all forms of domestic support. They also call for the elimination of export subsidies over nine years, the reduction of over-quota tariffs by 40 to 60 per cent, no reduction of in-quota tariffs and increased access to 10 per cent of current consumption.
The proposal doesn’t benefit Canadian farm exporters, but does real damage to supply-managed industries.
It does “little to open markets but will do serious damage to supply management,” he said.
It increases access to our market, Boyd said, by 13 million kg and will result in prices that reflect the U.S. market.
Since 1988, Canadian live turkey prices have ranged from 25 cents to 50 cents per kilogram higher than U.S. prices.
Art Roder, chairman of the Ontario Turkey Producers’ Marketing Board, also said the WTO negotiations are worrisome.
“The current direction of the WTO negotiations are of great concern for Canadian supply-managed com?modities,” he said.
Boyd said every country has something to be unhappy about with the WTO proposals.
Canada had tabled proposals aimed at levelling the international trade playing field.
These included: lower regular tariffs, minimum access of five per cent, in-quota tariffs set at zero and effective over-quota tariffs.
Meanwhile, the U.S. called for a maximum tariff of 25 per cent after five years (compared to Canada’s current 154 per cent over-quota tariff). The U.S. is also calling for an increase of 20 per cent of current access levels. For turkey, that would represent an increase of about one million kilograms a year.
If tariffs are reduced to the level proposed by the U.S., imports could land in Canada at 50 cents a kilogram below the current Canadian market. Boyd said in his presentation that this is “not acceptable.”
The E.U. has called for average tariff reductions of 36 per cent with a minimum reduction of 15 per cent.
Under the E.U. proposal, Canadian tariffs would be reduced to 98 to 139 per cent. Imports would be a threat depending upon market conditions and changes in currency values, Boyd said.
The E.U. proposal is also “not acceptable,” he said.