Get facts straight on Doha, Peter Clark urges Parliamentarians



    OTTAWA, June 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Peter Clark, President of Ottawa-based
Grey, Clark, Shih and Associates, told Canadian Parliamentarians that Doha
Round Agricultural Trade Modalities will have clear costs to Canada, and
relatively few net benefits to Canada's grain, oilseeds and livestock
exporters.
    "The modalities being developed by New Zealand Ambassador Crawford
Falconer, if based on his challenge papers, are likely to be seriously flawed
and unbalanced," Mr. Clark told members of the House and Senate Agriculture
and Trade Committees.(1)
    "To expect disinterested enlightenment from the G-4 steering group is
excessively optimistic." Clark predicted, "Much more likely is trading off
each others' interests - effectively a take-it-or-leave-it deal." He predicted
such an unbalanced deal would be rejected by developing countries "fed up to
the teeth with their real needs being ignored."
    While Mr. Clark characterizes Ambassador Falconer's initiative as an
important effort to get the negotiations back on track after a misguided and
alarmist adjournment, he expects the likely results will be "very thin gruel".
"This mess is not Ambassador Falconer's fault - he did not have much to work
with and had nearly a year of downtime due to institutional mismanagement and
folly," Clark explained. "Now he has to try to keep as many countries as
possible inside the tent."
    He recalled that "we saw at Doha that it takes only one country to block
consensus on a bad deal. Where G-33 and G-90 interests have been ignored, the
response to a take-it-or-leave-it deal could well be 'Hell no - we won't go.'"

    
    Among specific concerns Clark identified were:

    - The U.S. will be able to provide more support than they expended in
      1995.
    - The E.U. will get credit for CAP Reforms necessitated by internal
      needs.
    - So-called decoupled support is not "green" and will perpetuate
      problems.
    - Falconer to address tariff specific escalation, food aid and export
      credits in a meaningful way will negate possible gains for Canada's
      farmers and ranchers.
    - A new Peace Clause, which is still on the table, will make many
      concessions by larger players meaningless.
    

    "There will be little in any saleable potential package to benefit
Canadian farmers and ranchers. Canada needs to engage as a matter of the
highest priority in preventing erosion of market access through high priority
negotiation of preferential arrangements with countries which have Canada
outside looking in!"
    Clark went on to explain that the Agriculture negotiation is not the only
stumbling block - there are deep differences on Non-Agricultural Market
Access, Safeguards and Rules (including an attempt by the U.S. to          
re-legitimize zeroing). "Any one of these could cause the negotiations to
crash and burn," he warned.
    Mr. Clark explained, "Canada must abandon a blind faith approach to
multilateral trade liberalization - which may have worked in the past, but in
the new WTO is a prescription for disaster. In this 'Field of Dreams'
approach, the 'Shoeless Joes' will be tens of thousands of Canadian farmers
and ranchers."

    ------------------
    (1) The paper can be found at www.greyclark.com




For further information:

For further information: Peter Clark, (613) 238-7743

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