Farmscape for December 1, 2005 (Episode 1983)
The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is calling on Canada to demonstrate its commitment to open trade during key world trade meetings slated for later this month.
The Canada Border Services Agency is expected to announce in mid December whether provisional duties will be imposed on imported US grain corn.
A coalition of Canadian corn users is pressing for a delay in any such duties until World Trade Organization meetings December 13 to 18 in Hong Kong have concluded.
Canadian Cattlemen's Association International Relations Director John Masswohl says announcing a duty on US corn in the middle of those meetings would send a bad signal to Canada's trading partners.
Clip-John Masswohl-Canadian Cattlemen's Association
As our beef industry has grown, over 60 percent of what we produce has to be exported.
We look at that and where the future growth of the industry is going to come from and it's really going to come out of export markets so our future really depends on there being an ambitious market access agreement coming out of these WTO negotiations.
I think we will see progress at some point.
The whole question is when and what are the expectations for the Hong Kong Meeting of Trade Ministers.
It had been hoped that that was going to be the meeting where all the countries would agree on the basic formulas for tariff cuts and domestic support reductions.
Unfortunately the European Union has not come very far in terms of its market access offer and there's really very little expectation now that that bridge is going to be gapped at Hong Kong so I think what Hong Kong is now going to be about is trying to set a schedule of meetings and deadlines to get the process back on track.
Masswohl says, if there's ever a place you want to go to reform US domestic subsidies, the only place you can do that is the WTO.
He suggests, if a duty is imposed on American corn, the cattle industry will be worse off, the corn industry will be worse off and it might jeopardize the negotiations.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council