WTO Proposal on Agriculture Essential to Future of Canadian Farmers

    CALGARY, July 10 /CNW/ - A revised proposal on how to reduce tariffs and
subsidies for agriculture released today by the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Committee on Agriculture is a step closer to an agreement that is essential to
the future of Canadian farmers and processors of agricultural products, says
the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance (CAFTA), a coalition of national and
regional organizations, associations and companies that support a more open
and fair international trading environment for agriculture and agri-food. Over
90 per cent of Canadian farmers are dependent on international markets.
    "CAFTA is pleased to see that the draft released today continues to call
for ambitious reductions of barriers to agriculture trade, including so-called
sensitive products," says Darcy Davis, President of CAFTA. "In the rest of the
world, sensitive products are largely meat and grains, which are the most
important agricultural goods produced in Canada and exported. Any lowering of
ambition on sensitive products would be a major loss for Canada's agriculture
and agri-food sector. CAFTA is continuing to urge Canadian political leaders
to support lowering of tariffs and expansion of quotas on sensitive products
to ensure commercially meaningful market access gains for all Canadian
agri-food products. We will be carrying that message to the WTO meetings in
Geneva next week"
    Davis adds that failure to reach an agreement at the WTO would be
extremely costly. An independent analysis carried out by the George Morris
Centre confirmed that new WTO rules as currently being negotiated would add an
additional $3 Billion per year to Canadian agricultural exports. This means
that for each day without a new WTO agreement, there is a loss of roughly $10
million in potential additional exports for Canada's agriculture and agri-food
    "Canadian farmers continue to struggle with adverse economic conditions,"
says Davis. "Canada is a trade dependent nation. One in every three Canadian
jobs depends on trade, and we're the fourth largest agriculture and agri-food
exporter in the world. Reaching an agreement at the WTO that will give Canada
greater access to world markets is clearly in the best interests of the
majority of Canadian producers and processors."
    For the complete text of the WTO's revised proposal visit

For further information:

For further information: Darcy Davis, President, Canadian Agri-Food
Trade Alliance, (613) 791-5352; Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, (613)
560-0500, www.cafta.org

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