The Canadian Government must quickly oppose the WTO draft agreement presently in discussion



    GENEVA, Switzerland, July 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Union des producteurs
agricoles (UPA) strongly opposes the new draft agreement, concocted behind
closed doors Friday night by 7 major commercial powers (Australia, Brazil,
China, United States, Japan, European Union) and circulated among the other
153 countries represented at the WTO.
    The UPA urges the Canadian Government to publicly announce that it will
refuse to sign this draft agreement. "The Canadian Government has formally
pledged that it would not sign any agreement jeopardizing Canadian
agricultural products under supply management, which are milk, eggs and
poultry. It must honour that pledge, walk the talk and clearly indicate to its
commercial partners that the draft agreement is unacceptable in its present
form. The Canadian Government must act quickly", said from Geneva the
president of the UPA, Mr. Christian Lacasse.
    The Canadian negotiating position, according to a November 5th, 2005
House of Commons unanimous motion was to refuse any tariff cuts and any
increased access to supply management products' markets in any WTO agreement.
The Canadian International Trade Minister, Mr. Michael Fortier, has publicly
reiterated this position this week. "Nous avons en rencontre bilatérale et en
assemblée avec tous les autres pays affirmé que nous étions résolument engagés
envers la gestion de l'offre. Nos partenaires le savent, ce n'est pas une
position qui est nouvelle pour le Canada, et nos partenaires aussi,
commerciaux, savent que c'est une position qui a été, qui est appuyée par le
Parlement du Canada et c'est donc une position qui est bipartisane et qui a
fait l'objet de plusieurs motions au Parlement du Canada", said Minister
Fortier. Nevertheless, the Canadian Government has remained silent so far
about the draft agreement circulating since Friday.
    Under the terms of the draft agreement, major tariff reductions would
open the door to foreign dairy, egg and poultry products dumping on the
Canadian market. Under the same draft agreement, foreign countries could
maintain their important agricultural support, reducing by only a small
proportion their unallowed subsidies. As to allowed subsidies, it Is an open
bar.
    "If the Canadian Government was to sign this draft agreement, it would
jeopardize more than 40% of Quebec agricultural revenues and, consequently,
about 70,000 direct and indirect jobs in the farming and transformation
sectors. More than the future of our farms - regional economical stability is
also at stake. Also, what is on the table threatens financial support programs
in other sectors of agricultural production. This draft agreement is harmful
to Quebec and Canadian agriculture as a whole. That is why this bad draft
agreement must be rejected", continued Mr. Lacasse.

    About 8,000 Quebec farms under supply management - dairy, poultry and
eggs - provide jobs and revenues for 15,000 producers and their families. The
farm cash receipts value is 2.6 billion $. Supply management sectors generate
almost 4 billion $ in Gross National Product (GNP) and more than 70,000 jobs.
For more information on the WTO and supply management: www.go5quebec.ca




For further information:

For further information: François Dumontier, Conseiller, Relations
publiques et gouvernementales, (450) 679-0540, poste 8704, Cellulaire: (514)
713-0530; Source: Eliane Hamel, Directrice des communications, Union des
producteurs agricoles

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Union des producteurs agricoles

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