About GO5 — News Briefs
Organizing world trade in agriculture rather than liberalization
The GO5 Coalition was invited to present supply management to the conference of the Mouvement pour une organisation mondiale de l’agriculture (MOMA), held in Paris this October 19, on the theme of "World agriculture is running out of strategies. How to reconcile liberalism and development."
On behalf of the Coalition, Gyslain Loyer, President of the Syndicat des producteurs d’œufs d’incubation du Québec, described the foundations of the Canadian supply management systems in milk, hatching egg, table egg, chicken and turkey production. For supply management to work, he explained, there must be a national regulatory framework that provides for import control, among other measures. History shows that deregulation is catastrophic for farmers and is of no benefit to consumers, regardless of what the defenders of free trade claim.
Mr. Loyer suggested that to reconcile liberalism and development, the local market must be developed before the world market and a country’s right to feed itself must be recognized: "It must be possible for all the member countries of the World Trade Organization to apply a concept of self-sufficiency that allows them to promote both sustainable agriculture and their country’s food sovereignty. Those who want to export must be transparent and show clean hands regarding subsidies. Repositioning the promotion of food self-sufficiency and collective marketing in this perspective is an idea that makes perfect sense."
Launched in 2005, MOMA is a French initiative that refutes the WTO and World Bank assumption that liberalization of agricultural trade will reduce poverty and ensure that countries are more independent and sovereign. See its web site at www.momagri.org
Supply Management explained in Washington
The Chairman of the Fédération des producteurs de lait du Québec, Marcel Groleau, was invited to explain supply management to participants in the first joint symposium of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Coordination Sud, a French umbrella group of non-governmental organizations, this past September 6 in Washington. The event focused on the state of the WTO negotiations on agriculture and the alternatives to the proposals currently under discussion to enable developing countries to really improve their lot.
Mr. Groleau showed how supply management and collective marketing, over the past 30 years, have allowed effective organization of dairy and poultry production in Canada. He indicated that this model can be applied on the scale of a region, a country, a continent or the planet and should interest both rich and poor countries defending their food sovereignty. Other speakers did not fail to point out that poor countries should consider supply management an inspiring model.
Negotiations are suspended
The 149 member countries of the General Council of World Trade Organization (WTO) decided to suspend negotiations in all subjects indefinitely. They agreed with WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy that this will be a setback for all members. For Mr. Lamy, the objective of closing the Doha Round, launched in November 2001 in Qatar, with an agreement by the end of 2006 was now impossible. Mr. Lamy reached the conclusion to suspend the negotiations on July 24, after talks among six major members broke down on July 23. Gaps between key players remain too wide.The main stumbling blocks are agriculture market access and domestic support.
The www.go5quebec.ca web site gets face lift
A redesigned web site for the GO5 Coalition went online in mid-June. It includes new sections and its architecture makes it easy to quickly access various documents. The site also carries reports on the Coalition’s various activities as well as on issues that may affect our fair farming model, supply management, and food sovereignty. Regular visitors to the site will be able to keep abreast of developments through the “Latest News” icon on the Home page.
GO5 meets with its key partners
The GO5 Coalition held its second partnership forum on Tuesday, June 13, at the Maison de l'UPA to review developments in the World Trade Organization negotiations and agriculture-related issues. Representatives from some 15 enterprises and organizations from Quebec's civil society took part in this information meeting. One of the speakers was Steve Verheul, Canada's chief agriculture negotiator, who spoke directly from Geneva.
The meeting was also an opportunity to obtain a commitment from certain participants, on behalf of their respective organizations, to support public activities organized by the Coalition, depending on the outcome of the current negotiations.
Quebec farm leaders reiterate their position to the head of the WTO
While in Montreal in early June, Pascal Lamy, Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), called on Canada, as well as the other 149 member countries of the organization he heads, to find common ground in order to save the Doha Round of negotiations which began in 2001. For Mr. Lamy, greater market openness and a decrease in agricultural subsidies is the key to a compromise.
The leaders of the GO5 Coalition reminded Mr. Lamy in a private meeting that our supply-managed commodities – milk, eggs, poultry – are not intended for export and therefore have no impact on the international market. “Is it the role of the WTO to regulate domestic trade when less than 10% of food produced in the world is traded between countries?” asked Laurent Pellerin, spokesperson for the GO5. “Even in Canada, the fourth largest exporter of farm products in the world, 70% of farm revenue is derived from the domestic market,” said Pellerin.