Canada to push for bilateral accords after WTO failure

July 30th, 2008 - 9:50 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, July 30 (IANS) Expressing disappointment with the collapse of Doha Round negotiations on world trade in Geneva, Canada said Tuesday it will work for bilateral agreements to create new markets for its farm and manufacturing exports and services. The Doha Round talks collapsed because of wide gaps between the positions of many countries, including India and the US, on farm subsidies.

Reacting to the failure of the talks, International Trade Minister Michael Fortier said: “We are disappointed with the breakdown in the negotiations, but the WTO (World Trade Organization) remains important to Canada.

“Despite the impasse, we will continue to press for new trade opportunities, through bilateral agreements and renewed efforts at the multilateral level, to continue to build the strong Canadian economy.”

He said, “Canada came here (Geneva) wishing for a happy outcome, a new accord that would allow our exporters to gain ground everywhere on the planet. And we find ourselves 10 days later with a failure. So, that in itself is very disappointing.”

The minister said Canada is a trading nation, and the growth and prosperity of its manufacturing and agricultural sectors depend on access to new markets.

Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who accompanied Fortier to the Geneva talks, said: “Canada entered the WTO talks with a balanced agricultural policy to deliver real gains for all Canadian farm families. We worked hard to expand markets for our exporters and we consistently stood up for supply-managed sectors, and will continue to do so.”

He said, “It is unfortunate that countries could not come together to level the international playing field for agricultural trade, but the (Canadian) government will be there to move the WTO talks forward whenever they resume.”

The WTO offers big opportunities for expanding market access for Canadian goods and services.

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