Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to the increasingly difficult position Canadian farmers face as a result of massive foreign agricultural subsidies. It is clear that the Canadian government must take a stronger stand in WTO negotiations on agriculture, especially with regard to tariffs.
A new study prepared by trade expert Peter Clark for Dairy Farmers of Canada suggests that the current WTO agricultural negotiating framework will not ease the imbalances among participating countries.
For example the new study demonstrates that U.S. dairy farmers had access to $13.8 billion U.S. in direct and indirect support in 2003, meaning they can get about 40% of their income from federal, state and local government subsidies. These subsidies effectively limit access to the U.S. market. The U.S. advocates tariff cuts because it can limit access while trying to increase U.S. exports to other markets.
I urge our government to continue our fight for fairness for Canadian farmers.