Bob Friesen, president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), met with the federal and provincial ministers of agriculture earlier today to discuss the future of Canadian agricultural trade policy.

Friesen highlighted the importance of the next round of WTO trade negotiations, and the need to ensure that it includes a “satisfactory agricultural agenda”.

“What we achieve at the WTO multilateral level will dictate what we can do at the domestic level to achieve our objectives,” he explained.

“Increasingly our agriculture sector relies export markets,” he added, pointing out that Canada should not give way to other countries in the event of a contest over the supply of a certain commodity: “If we simply abandon commodities in the face of foreign competition, all we are doing is allowing other countries like the US to continue to buy out Canada’s share of the international marketplace.”

“To continue to be a force in the world market and reach our goals and objectives, we must be prepared to match other countries’ agricultural investment,” he said.

In a press release, the CFA has argued for Canadian agriculture policy to be proactive, while trade policy ideas are aggressively marketed. The government must also focus policy on improving market access and maintaining supply management systems for domestic stability, it says.

“We need to be the first out of the gate, offering the world a Canadian brand-name, a complete package that includes environmental sustainability and our already-established reputation for unrivaled food safety,” insisted Friesen.