CAFTA Pressing Hard to Keep Ambition In the WTO Agreement

    GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, July 23 /CNW/ - On the third day of the Ministerial
level negotiations aimed at reaching a World Trade Organization agreement,
members of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) delegation were
pressing hard to keep Canada's agricultural export priorities front and centre
and to sound out the views of farmers and organizations from other countries.
    The messages received indicate that some hard negotiating lies ahead to
ensure that our export-oriented farmers and agri-food processors will get the
access they are expecting.
    One concern that emerged was that Canadian officials may be undertaking
joint efforts with Japan and others to provide a means to expand sensitive
product coverage. If successful, such efforts may undermine access to very
important markets for Canadian products - beef and pork in particular.
Furthermore, efforts by any single country to seek special concessions will
undoubtedly lead to demands by others to seek more trade distorting
    Travis Toews, a beef cattle producer from Alberta and a Director of
CAFTA, sought clarification on this matter. Minister of Agriculture and
Agri-Food Gerry Ritz replied that they were looking for flexibilities to apply
to Canada's domestic products. CAFTA remains concerned that new flexibilities
built into the text may further reduce the potential gains in market access
that this agreement offers to Canadian agriculture.
    CAFTA was pleased to receive this response from the Minister and will
continue to press the interests of Canada's export orientated agricultural
sector and the over 90% of farm families that this sector represents.

For further information:

For further information: To arrange an interview with the CAFTA
delegation in Geneva, contact: Cindy McCreath, (403) 615-1526,

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