Time to Harvest the Deal - Potential WTO Agreement Means Billions for Canadian Exporters

    OTTAWA, Jan. 30 /CNW/ - The prospect of a WTO agreement within the next
few months is being welcomed by Canada's agriculture and agri-food exporters.
    "The agreement that seems to be coming together is a good deal for
Canada. Late last year, CAFTA commissioned an analysis of the work that has
been done to date; we can clearly demonstrate that Canada's exporters will
realize significant gains through a WTO agreement," said Darcy Davis, CAFTA
President. "The analysis indicates that this agreement would generate an
annual increase of about $3 Billion in export value for selected primary
Canadian commodities."
    "CAFTA has been closely monitoring developments in Geneva over the last
several months," said Rick White, CAFTA Vice President. "There's been
considerable progress made since July and we expect the momentum will continue
to carry forward this year. It's not impossible that we could see an agreement
before the end of the spring."
    "The analysis of the benefits coupled with news on further progress in
the negotiations comes at a critical time," said Keith Lancastle, CAFTA
Executive Director. "The impact of a high Canadian dollar has been hitting
agricultural exporters very hard - and it's been an even tougher year for our
beef and pork sectors that are also dealing with the effects of continuing
market access issues."
    "The agreement that is on the table will clearly benefit Canadian
agriculture," said Lancastle. "Our members are anxious to see the agreement
pulled together as soon as possible."
    "Every day we don't have an agreement represents almost $10 Million in
lost opportunity for Canadian exporters," said Davis. "And, the international
marketplace needs improved rules and disciplines, as we saw most recently with
the EU decision to reintroduce export subsidies for pork."
    "Over 200,000 Canadian farmers are directly dependent on the export
market," said Lancastle. "These small businesses either export their
production or sell it domestically at international prices. In any case, a
healthy export market is critical to their ongoing viability."
    "CAFTA will be watching the negotiations closely, here at home and in
Geneva, in the coming weeks," said Davis. "We will continue to encourage the
Government of Canada, and the missions of other WTO countries, to seek an
ambitious agreement as soon as possible."

    The Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance represents producers, processors
and exporters of agriculture and agri-food products, as well as suppliers of
agricultural inputs. Accounting for over 80% of Canada's agriculture and food
exports, and more than 60% of farm cash receipts, CAFTA's members are united
in their dependence on trade, and in their need for a liberalized
international trading environment.

For further information:

For further information: or to schedule an interview contact: Keith
Lancastle, CAFTA Executive Director, (613) 560-0500, lancastle@cafta.org

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