December 9, 2013

Grain Growers of Canada pleased with WTO progress

CALGARY, AB, Dec. 9, 2013 – The Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) congratulates Canada’s lead trade negotiators at the World Trade Organization (WTO) this weekend, where a deal was reached in Bali, Indonesia on Saturday. Dubbed the “Bali Package,” this is the first sign of success since the current round of negotiations began in 2001.

“Canadian farmers should take heart, the WTO is alive, back on track and it looks like it is once again coming through for farmers and the agricultural sector,” says Gary Stanford, Grain Growers of Canada President. “We are glad to see International Trade Minister, Ed Fast and Agriculture and Agri-food Minister, Gerry Ritz working on behalf of agriculture at the WTO negotiations in Bali and eager to see it moving ahead. Decreasing trade barriers and increasing market access is good news for grain farmers.”

After 12 years of negotiations, the Grain Growers of Canada welcomes the multilateral progress made with the conclusion of the WTO Bali Package. The agreement on trade facilitation will be particularly important for Canada’s agriculture and food sectors, that together export over $44 billion a year including 65 percent of our malt, about 70 percent of our wheat and 85 percent of our canola. Some of the new trade deal agreement details include, reduction of border transaction costs, opening more doors for agricultural products and establishing policy for maintaining food stocks in developing countries.

“This agreement gives new life to agricultural trade efforts using the WTO,” says Michael Delaney, Grain Growers of Canada Director representative for the Canadian Agri Food Trade Alliance. “This agreement will be integral to enabling Canadian farmers and agricultural exporters to find new global markets, increase their opportunities where those markets already exist and it will also go a long way towards creating international trade regulations that are predictable and based on sound science principles.”

International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz attended the conference on behalf of Canada. The Bali Package must still be approved by all 159 member-country governments.

“We see the outcomes at Bali as a positive step forward towards re-energizing multilateral negotiations on meaningful agriculture reforms for the future,” says Stanford.

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