Interprovincial deal on agricultural trade god news for producers

CANADA - A new agreement to improve the trade of agricultural goods among six provinces and territories will be good news for Saskatchewan producers, processors and manufacturers.
calendar icon 16 October 2006
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 Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and the Yukon all signed on to the pact to liberalize interprovincial agricultural trade.

Although national consensus couldn’t be reached among all provinces and territories, the six jurisdictions that formally agreed have shown some leadership in the process that may pave the way for future expansion of the deal to involve other provinces, notably larger jurisdictions like Ontario and Quebec.

Agriculture and Food Minister Mark Wartman signed the agreement on behalf of Saskatchewan. “It is important that, as we continue to work towards harmonization and improved trading relationships internationally, we do what we can to remove barriers in our own market,” he said.

The pact stems from the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT) that aims to remove obstacles to interprovincial trade, promote non-discrimination on goods that travel across provincial boundaries and enhance the right of entry and exit of goods between jurisdictions in Canada.

In 2005, a federal/provincial/territorial committee on agricultural trade policy established a working group to review the Agricultural Chapter of the AIT. A report presented by that group to Canada’s Agriculture Ministers in March 2006 led to the agreement in place today.

“When we were unable to reach a full national consensus on the recommendations of the working group in March, we felt it better to move ahead with an interim agreement,” Wartman said.

“We will formalize our domestic relationships through the (AIT) over the long term, but in the short term, this agreement allows us to begin that process without needing the full agreement of every province and territory in Confederation,” he added.

“The six supporting provinces and territories will now apply the spirit of the AIT to our agriculture and food goods as we continue to work toward a formal, national agreement on interprovincial trade in agriculture.”

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