CPC Expresses Concern Over Canadian Trade Protection Policies for Dairy

CANADA - The Canadian Pork Council is urging Ottawa to avoid protecting the dairy industry at the expense of other agricultural industries during international trade discussions, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 23 March 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

In a letter to Canada's ministers of international trade and agriculture and agrifood the Canadian Pork Council has expressed concern over Ottawa's decision to initiate negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to restrict imports of milk protein concentrates.

CPC President Clare Schlegel fears the action could result in concessions which would harm trade dependent commodities like pork and undermine Canada's credibility during World Trade Organization talks.

Clare Schlegel-Canadian Pork Council

There's been a power play in Canada and the supply managed folks and the government have stated unequivocally that they're not ready to concede any over quota tariffs or tariff rate quotas and those of us in the export oriented commodities feel like we're being traded off and that's simply not reasonable.

We also are concerned that this sending a protectionist signal to the rest of the world.

We think Canada, as a major trader around the world, needs to be negotiating for freer access and we'd like to encourage the government of Canada to be aggressive in their pursuit of freer access.

A number of us have been hit very hard by the Canadian dollar increasing in value over the last three or four years and we're attempting, as an industry, as a supply chain, to make adjustments to restore our competitiveness but for that to happen we depend on favorable access to export markets for our short term and our long term survival.

Schlegel believes the government should give its WTO negotiators a clear mandate to vigorously pursue the best possible outcome for all of Canadian agriculture.

He believes the Canadian government will be better served by being part of the process as opposed to being excluded because of taking a hard line in protecting sensitive products.

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