Author: 800 CHAB NEWS/ Government of Saskatchewan

Ministers of Agriculture from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and senior officials from BC were in Geneva, Switzerland last week representing Western Canadian agricultural interests during an informal meeting of World Trade Organization (WTO) ministers. Western Canadian Ministers continued to advocate for an ambitious WTO outcome, as endorsed by Western Premiers at their meeting in Gimli, Manitoba on May 30th, 2006.

Ministers share the disappointment expressed by Federal Ministers Strahl and Emerson on the results of last week's meetings in Geneva. "A lack of political will among the major players appears to have prevented progress in the WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations" said Ministers. They agreed, however, that the E.U. and the U.S. still have the opportunity over the next few weeks to bridge their differences over agricultural trade liberalization.

Western Canadian farmers, and the entire agricultural industry, have much to gain from an ambitious conclusion to the WTO negotiations. Ministers commended Canada for its strong stance in favour of real reductions in trade distorting domestic support, and urged the federal government to show equal enthusiasm in the market access negotiations. "We believe that Canada, as a leading international trader of agricultural products, has a key role to play in helping to advance these negotiations at this critical juncture," added

Western provinces are committed to working with the federal government in support of an ambitious and substantial outcome.