Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Canada weighs in on US Farm Policy

Agriculture Online is reporting that Canada politicians are weighing in on American farm policy.

Cattle and lumber may soon be joined by corn on the list of commodities
creating conflict on the U.S. border with Canada.
Canadian officials announced Monday they will begin the process of inquiry into the alleged trade distortion created by U.S. corn subsidies with the World Trade Organization (WTO). The move --which officials say was motivated solely by the strained competitiveness of Canadian corn farmers -- is expected to set off a chain of events that could take months or even years to reach a final
"Canada is concerned that these U.S. subsidies continue to cause
economic harm to our corn farmers," Canadian agriculture minister Chuck Strahl
said Monday of U.S. corn payments. "That's why we took the action we did, in
order to provide the best possible support for our producers by pushing for a
level playing field so they can compete."

But as Brownfield Network reports U.S. Congressman Colin Peterson was not surprised:

Canada's formal request for World Trade Organization (WTO) consultations over the current U.S. farm program surprised, but didn't faze, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota. Peterson, who spoke to Brownfield on his way back from an address to the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting Monday in Salt Lake City, said the move appears to have more to do with internal Canadian politics than U.S. agriculture policy."Well, I think the government up there has some political problems," said Peterson. "I had been under the understanding they weren't going to move ahead with this, but I think this is probably more politics than anything."Peterson also said he didn't believe the Canadian request for consultations would ulimately result in a WTO decision against the U.S. farm program. "It's out there and we'll have to deal with it, but I just can't imagine that this is going to go anyplace," he said.

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