Canadian grain farmers call on government to stand up for free trade

July 20th marks one year since Italy’s COOL decree caused the loss of Canada’s largest durum market

OTTAWA AND WINNIPEG (July 19, 2018) – July 20th marks the one-year anniversary of Italy’s protectionist country of origin labelling (COOL) regulations on pasta.  Following a year of loss, Canada’s grain industry continues to call on the federal Government to launch a World Trade Organization (WTO) challenge to Italy’s COOL provisions.

Since COOL has been announced, Canada’s durum exports to Italy have been severely limited. Italy is traditionally Canada’s largest durum market taking 20 to 25 per cent, or one million tonnes, of Canada’s durum exports over the past five years. 

“Canada’s hard-working farmers produce high-quality grains that are in global demand and we rely on the government to provide stable, open markets for these products,” said Jeff Nielsen, President of Grain Growers of Canada (GGC). “If diplomatic efforts are not resolving our trade issues we need to know that our government will defend Canadian farmers against illegal protectionism.”

“As an industry, we have long supported the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Europe,” said Cam Dahl, President of Cereals Canada. “But the fact is that one of our larger exports to Europe has almost disappeared since CETA came into effect. If this hard-won trade deal can’t be enforced, many will begin to question its value.” 

All this comes at a time when the St. Lawrence Seaway should be full of boats transporting durum to Europe. The entry into force of the CETA with the European Union should have led to increased exports, but instead, Canada lost its largest market.

“The loss of this important market cannot be understated,” said Margaret Hansen, Chair of GGC’s Trade Committee. “Today this is an issue for durum growers, but if left unchallenged the Italian measures will spread to other commodities and other countries. Every grain farmer should be, and is, concerned. We urge the government to do whatever necessary to fight these protectionist barriers.”

Cereals Canada

Cereals Canada brings together a broad and diverse collaboration of partners from all sectors of the cereals value chain.  Our goal is to enhance the domestic and international competitiveness of Canadian cereals for the benefit of all parts of the industry.

 Grain Growers of Canada

Grain Growers of Canada provides a strong national voice for over 50,000 active and successful grain, oilseed and pulse producers through its13 provincial, regional and national grower groups. Our mission and mandate are to pursue a policy environment that maximizes global competitiveness and to influence federal policy on behalf of independent Canadian grain farmers and their associations.

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Media Contacts:

Cereals Canada

Brenna Mahoney

Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations

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Grain Growers of Canada

Tyler McCann

Interim Executive Director

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Cereals Canada is a national, not-for-profit organization that brings a broad and diverse collaboration of partners from all sectors of the cereals value chain.