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Calls for WTO action against Italian restrictions on Canadian durum

The federal government is going to the WTO over canola and Cereals Canada wants Ottawa to do the same for durum

Cereals Canada is among the many farm and agricultural industry groups welcoming the federal government’s decision to take China to the World Trade Organization over its ban on Canadian canola seed.

But Cereals Canada wants Ottawa to do the same with Italy because its mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (mCOOL) policy restricts Italian imports of Canadian durum wheat.

Cam Dahl.
photo: Allan Dawson

“Italy was once the largest market for Canadian durum, the wheat used to make pasta,” Cereals Canada president Cam Dahl said in a news release Sept. 6. “Since mCOOL has been brought in Canadian farmers have lost 60 per cent of this market. We urge the Government of Canada to stand up against, and use all available tools, to challenge the Italian regulations that effectively discriminate against Canadian products.”

Italy’s protectionist policy happened despite the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and Europe, which is supposed to encourage trade, Dahl added.

“We need to do more than sign trade agreements, we need to place a priority on making sure trade agreements actually work,” Dahl said

“Failure to challenge the Italian regulations will encourage other countries with trade protectionist goals to utilize similar means to block Canadian exports. The time to challenge these non-tariff barriers is now, before further proliferation of this protectionist tool.”

Italian farmers have publicized that Canadian durum might have traces of glyphosate because Canadian farmers sometimes apply the non-selective herbicide ahead of harvest to kill weeds.

About the author

Reporter

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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