WTO Notes Limited Access to Canadian Market for Developing Countries

21 December 1998

The WTO last week conducted the obligatory "Trade Policy Review" of Canada. While Members found that Canada is a generally open economy, they noted that Canada has work to do with respect to market access for developing countries. WTO members noted that Canada still has in place significant tariff protection for textiles, clothing and footwear and food products, all sectors in which developing economies could have comparative advantage as an exporter. Some members also noted concern around Canada's dependence on the U.S. for much of its trade.

In separate news, Canada and the EU last week agreed to accept each other's sanitary measures with regard to live animals and animal products. The veterinary equivalency agreement should streamline EU-Canada trade in dairy, fish and fish products, live animals and fresh meat. These products already account for annual EU-Canadian trade worth US$655 million. The agreement does not cover trade in genetically modified products or phytosanitary measures. The agreement was signed as part of the EU-Canada summit held last week in Ottawa. At the summit, Canada, whose farmers are struggling with troubled grain and hog markets, were expected to press the EU on agricultural subsidies, and probe the EU on its agenda for the next round of WTO trade talks.

"FOCUS: Canada's tariffs high on food, clothing- WTO," REUTERS, December 17, 1998; "EU, Canada reach agreement on sanitary rules for animals, products," JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, December 17, 1998; EU braced for talks on agricultural subsidies at summit," OTTAWA CITIZEN,
December 17, 1998.

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