CAFTA’s core mandate is to advance multilateral liberalization of agriculture and agri-food trade through the progressive reduction of trade distorting protection and support.
Around the world, agriculture is subject to both domestic and trade policies that impact international prices and the flow of goods. The competitiveness of Canadian agri-food exporters is limited by market access restrictions including tariffs and quotas, trade distorting domestic support, export subsidies, differential export taxes, tariff escalation, and non-tariff barriers. These trade policies create imbalances in trade and establish trade patterns based on preferential treatment given to individual countries through historical preferences or bi-lateral trade deals, rather than on natural competitive advantage. Only a multi-lateral trade deal, like that being negotiated through the World Trade Organization (WTO), will fully resolve these issues.
The Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) welcomed the conclusion of the WTO Bali Package including agreements in the areas of trade facilitation, select agriculture issues, cotton, and development and Least Developed Country (LDC) issues.
CAFTA is a strong advocate for an open and transparent multilateral trading system. Around the world, agriculture is subject to both domestic and trade policies that can distort international prices and the flow of goods. Only a multilateral trade deal will fully resolve these issues.
As part 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. Greater transparency and common disciplines in key areas such as customs rules and test procedures and new obligations around the treatment of perishable goods will help facilitate trade and reduce the costs incurred by Canadian exporters.
CAFTA also welcomed the Bali package as a stepping stone towards achieving the goals set out in the WTO Doha negotiations. CAFTA encourages WTO members to use the progress made in Bali as inspiration to immediately resume work on the broader Doha objectives.