Montreal, June 3, 2008 – With the opening today of the world food security conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Canada could assume a leadership role in the area of market liberalization. The world food crisis and the resumption of the Doha round of trade talks give Canada an opportunity to abolish supply management and customs duties on foodstuffs to benefit from the growing rise in demand from emerging countries.
Economists Marcel Boyer and Sylvain Charlebois, the authors of an Economic Note from the Montreal Economic Institute on the Doha round and agricultural trade, warn that “hiding behind protectionist customs tariffs and staking the future on a domestic market that has already reached maturity can lead only to disaster.”
Three major policy changes are needed:
- a major reduction or outright abolition of direct and indirect subsidies to agriculture in developed countries, including customs tariffs and import quotas applied to foodstuffs;
- a significant opening by the most powerful developing countries – Brazil, India and China, in particular – to industrial products from developed countries;
- more effective international assistance programs aimed at revitalizing the agricultural sector in poor countries through infrastructure investment.
The Economic Note, titled The Doha Development Round and agricultural trade, was prepared by Sylvain Charlebois, associate professor in marketing at the University of Regina, and Marcel Boyer, vice-president and chief economist of the Montreal Economic Institute and Bell Canada professor of industrial economics at the University of Montreal.
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Information and interview requests: André Valiquette, Director of Communications, Montreal Economic Institute, Tel.: (514) 273-0969 ext.. 2225 / Cell: (514) 574-0969 / E-mail: avaliquette (@iedm.org)