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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

NEWS RELEASE:

End to Trade Distorting Subsidies 'A Top Priority' for Agriculture Minister

Ottawa, May 3, 2002 -- An end to trade-distorting subsidies like those in the new U.S. Farm Bill is Canada's top objective in the current round of World Trade Organization negotiations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lyle Vanclief said today.

"I am very disappointed that the U.S. Congress has agreed to significantly increase trade-distorting support in the new Farm Bill," said Vanclief.  "What we have seen so far about pulses and country of origin labeling certainly looks a lot more like protectionism than trade liberalization."

Vanclief added Canada is examining the new Farm Bill very closely and will decide how best to defend the interest of Canadian producers.

"Canada's goal in the WTO negotiations is to level the playing field in the trade of agricultural products," Vanclief told members of the International Policy Council (IPC) on Agriculture, Food and Trade, an independent group of farming, agri-business, government and academic leaders.   "Canada's objectives are to eliminate export subsidies, to significantly improve market access for all agriculture and food products, and to seek the maximum possible reduction or elimination of domestic support that distorts production or trade."

"Trade negotiations have been and will continue to be a top priority," the minister told IPC members who were in Ottawa for a two-day seminar themed 'Challenges facing the Doha Round'.  "Our negotiators are thoroughly committed to representing the trade interest of all stakeholders, and all levels of government, in achieving Canada's objectives on agriculture at the WTO."

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