Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ministers Meet With Agricultural Stakeholders on World Trade Organization Negotiations

Ministers Meet With Agricultural Stakeholders on World Trade Organization Negotiations: "'Canada's agriculture industry has an important role to play in working with the Government of Canada to help us achieve an outcome to these negotiations that strengthens the Canadian economy and benefits the whole agriculture and agri-food sector. That is why today's roundtable discussion was so important, and why this government will continue to work closely with the industry in the weeks and months to come.'

In 2005, Canada exported $26.2 billion and imported $21.1 billion in agriculture and agri-food products. Canada's agriculture and agri-food exports have more than doubled since the early 1990s, with exports of consumer-oriented products more than quadrupling over this period. However, foreign subsidies and market access barriers persist in distorting the international markets in which Canada competes. For that reason, international trade negotiations, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) agriculture negotiations, are very important to Canada's agri-food sector.

In December 2005, WTO member countries, including Canada, adopted a Declaration reflecting negotiations which took place at the WTO's 6th Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Conference achieved progress on several issues important to Canada's agricultural sector- for example, agreement to eliminate export subsidies by the end of 2013, and agreement that those countries with the highest levels of trade-distorting domestic support (e.g., the U.S. and the EU) will make the greatest cuts.

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