News Release Archive

  Agriculture Minister Wayne Gaudet said today he's confident
  that Canada will win a trade dispute with the United States
  which could otherwise threaten the dairy, poultry and egg
  industries in the country. 
  Under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Agriculture,
  formerly the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade or GATT,
  all member countries are required to replace non-tariff
  trade restrictions with tariffs. As a result, the import
  quotas which were in place for dairy and poultry products
  have been converted into tariff equivalents. These will be
  reduced over time. The U.S. is now challenging the
  legitimacy of the new tariffs in the context of the North
  American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA. Canada's right to
  maintain import restrictions in support of supply management
  systems was explicitly recognized in the Canada-U.S. Free
  Trade Agreement and later within NAFTA. A NAFTA panel has
  been established to rule on the issue and is expected to
  report in June. 
  Mr. Gaudet said, "We believe that Canada's actions with
  respect to new tariffs fully respects the spirit and letter
  of these agreements. Both agreements were negotiated openly
  and fairly, and at no time did the U.S. side leave the
  negotiating table with the expectation that they had gained
  free access to the Canadian market for supply managed
  products. I am looking forward to a favourable resolution to
  this dispute and we strongly support Canada's position."
  Agricultural industries and systems are currently adapting
  to many changes stemming from these new trade rules and the
  changing marketplace. Over 50 per cent of agricultural
  production in Nova Scotia is under national supply
  management or "orderly marketing" systems. These farm
  sectors, together with processors and related businesses,
  directly employ 4,250 Nova Scotians. Many o these jobs will
  be at risk if Canada loses the panel decision. 
  One positive outcome that Mr. Gaudet anticipates once the
  issue is settled is that farms will be able to plan and
  invest with a greater degree of certainty than has been the
  case for over a decade. The multilateral trade negotiations,
  and previously the Canada-U.S. and NAFTA negotiations with
  Mexico all generated significant uncertainty and created a
  difficult business planning environment for agriculture and
  related industries. The general pace of change within
  agriculture is extremely demanding at anytime and conforming
  to the new trade rules has required many adjustments and
  reforms to the supply management systems in recent years.
  Mr. Gaudet said, "Careful reviews of the two trade
  agreements have given reassurances that Canada's actions
  have been fully consistent with our rights and obligations
  under both NAFTA, and the WTO or GATT.
  Contact: David Robinson 902-424-8948
  jlw                     Feb. 14, 1996         3:30 p.m.