WTO Agriculture Negotiations
Québec And Ontario Urge The Federal GovernmentTo Redouble Efforts To Defend Supply Management
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.