WTO Efforts Should Not Be Wasted: Dairy, Poultry and Egg Farmers Return From Geneva

    OTTAWA, July 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's dairy poultry and egg industry
leaders have returned from Geneva, after World Trade Organization talks broke
down abruptly when countries were unable to reach agreement on special
safeguard mechanisms for developing countries.
    Negotiators never had an opportunity to get to Canada's key issues in the
group negotiations, but Canadian representatives held fast to the country's
balanced position on agriculture in bilateral discussions with other nations
represented in Geneva.
    "While we didn't get to where we'd hoped to be, we thank Ministers Gerry
Ritz and Michael Fortier, as well as the Canadian negotiating team led by
Steve Verheul and John Gero, for the hours of work they expended representing
the interests of Canadian agriculture," said David Fuller, Chairman of Chicken
Farmers of Canada.
    Dairy, poultry and egg farmers had grown very concerned with the latest
text proposed by WTO Director General Pascal Lamy while negotiations were
underway in Geneva.
    "What was on the table would have endangered our industries as well as
our contribution to the economic well-being of rural communities from coast to
coast," said Jacques Laforge, Chairman of Dairy Farmers of Canada, "Our
domestic market is the foundation of Canadian agriculture. Canadians purchase
70% of the agricultural products grown or raised in Canada. Yet, group
negotiators didn't even get around to talking about it, because there was a
cluster of other issues to work through. The reality is that there is a long
way to go before we have a WTO deal that makes sense for Canada."
    Farm leaders had been in Geneva for close to two weeks, along with
provincial agriculture ministers and industry representatives from across the
country. Leaders from both national and provincial dairy, poultry and egg
organizations will continue to work to ensure that the WTO members know how
important the dairy, poultry and egg industries are to Canada.
    "As suggested yesterday by many countries during the Trade Negotiations
Committee meeting in Geneva, the efforts of our negotiators should not be
wasted," said Mark Davies, Chairman of the Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency,
"We should build on the progress we've made, with a goal of achieving a solid
agreement that ends, once and for all, the uncertainty created by what is now
seven years of WTO negotiations."
    "The government has always supported a position that makes sense for
Canada" said Laurent Souligny, Chairman of the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency,
"Canadian dairy, poultry and egg farmers look forward to working with the
government to ensure that Canada has a strong trade agreement that recognizes
both the pillars of supply management and the need to have fair rules to
support export interests."

For further information:

For further information: Lisa Bishop-Spencer, Chicken Farmers of Canada,
(613) 566-5911; Thérèse Beaulieu, Dairy Farmers of Canada, (613) 236-9997

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