Farm leaders leave Whistler with mixed feelings on WTO



    WHISTLER, BC, June 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian farm leaders are leaving
Whistler today with mixed feelings. They appreciated the full support that
federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers have shown this week
to the country's supply-managed sectors, but they left knowing that much work
remains to achieve a positive WTO agriculture agreement for Canada's dairy,
poultry and egg farmers.
    "We are very pleased to see this high level of support during such a
critical time in the world trade negotiations on agriculture," said David
Fuller, Chair of Chicken Farmers of Canada.
    "News emerging from last week's G4 meeting held in Potsdam, Germany,
however, is causing increasing concern amongst Canada's dairy, poultry and egg
farmers," Fuller stated. "Despite the recent breakdown of the G4 talks, the
multilateral trade discussions in Geneva are in full gear and intensifying."
    "It would be a serious error to think that we need not negotiate; the
temporary G4 impasse may represent the last window of opportunity to ensure
that Canada's interests are not compromised by a G4 deal," Fuller explained.
    Holding a meeting here this week to discuss a variety of farm-related
issues affecting federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, ministers
took the time to have discussions with dairy, poultry and egg farm leaders
from across Canada and also participated Wednesday morning in a roundtable
discussion organized by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.
    Jacques Laforge, President of Dairy Farmers of Canada, remarked that the
ministers' support echoes the report of the House of Commons Standing
Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food regarding the development of the new
agriculture and agri-food policy. In that report, the Committee recommends the
federal government recognize that supply management together with its three
pillars - producer pricing, import controls and production discipline - is
inherently a business risk management program in Canada.
    Dairy, poultry and egg farmers insisted the Government of Canada must
urgently find ways to achieve a successful outcome at the WTO. A successful
outcome would be one that has no negative economic impact on supply management
farmers.
    Gyslain Loyer, Chair of the Canadian Broiler Hatching Egg Marketing
Agency, said farm leaders stand ready to work with the Government so the WTO
results are positive for all of Canadian agriculture. "Leaders of Canada's
dairy, poultry and egg farmers are continuing to offer their cooperation for
discussion on the negotiating strategy and all the tools that would help
obtain a positive final outcome in the negotiations," he said.




For further information:

For further information: Bernadette Cox, Manager, Corporate and Public
Affairs, Canadian Egg Marketing Agency, (613) 238-2514; Thérèse Beaulieu,
Assistant Director, Communications & Policy, Dairy Farmers of Canada, (613)
236-9997 x 251


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