CFA says internal trade agreement could affect ag

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Farm Business Communications, 10/13/2009
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CFA says internal trade agreement could affect ag



The Canadian Federation of Agriculture says the federal and provincial governments may be set to make major changes to internal trade in agriculture products without consulting the industry first.

"CFA and its membership across the country are very concerned with the initiative to renegotiate the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Agreement on Internal Trade including the revisions to the agriculture chapter, Chapter Nine without any prior consultation with industry," said CFA President Laurent Pellerin.

"It is our understanding that a final analysis of the text is to be reviewed and finalized at the meeting in Whitehorse, Yukon on October 15th, 2009, before it is signed by provincial Premiers this coming January 2010 despite providing no opportunity for the agri-food industry to see a copy of the proposed text and comment. This process has certainly been less than transparent."

The CFA is seeking an urgent meeting with the co-chairs of the Internal Trade Committee - Minister of Industry Tony Clement, and Yukon Minister of Economic Development Jim Kenyon - before the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) meeting on October 15.

The CFA says industry has not been consulted, and any revision of Chapter Nine can and will have effects for every sector of Canadian Agriculture. They also say the text is being hidden from Industry at a key time in the process: October 15th, when the agreement is to be finalized, is less than a week away.

They says they're suspicious that the text, which is supposed to exclude the core functions of supply management and orderly marketing, may not be adequate and will not address several key issues appropriately.

The CFA is asking the ministers to share a copy of the text currently under negotiation and consult with industry in the process of negotiating the final text of Chapter 9 on agriculture and ensure that any text they do agree to will not harm Canada's ability to run an effective supply management system and to regulate the core functions of the system.

They're also asking the ministers to not accept a text that will harm Canada's ability to run effective marketing boards ensure the wording and intention related to the protection and maintenance of supply management will reflect what was previously agreed to in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between Quebec and Ontario.
 

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