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Jim Sutton Tells Canada To Obey WTO Rules

6 July 2001Media Statement

Canadians Told To Toe The Line

A World Trade Organisation panel has ruled in New Zealand's favour again, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton confirmed today.

The panel was considering a substitute dairy export scheme the Canadians had devised to replace a scheme already ruled illegal by the WTO. The panel ruled that Canada was providing export subsidies to its dairy industry in excess of its commitments.

The ruling was confidential till Wednesday, July 11, but has already been reported in Canadian media.

Canada now has 60 days from when the report is made public by the WTO (July 11) to decide whether to appeal.

Mr Sutton said it would be deeply disappointing if Canada did decide to appeal.

"Canada has now been found to be in breach of its international obligations on at least three occasions. We would hope Canada would bring its measures into conformity with its WTO obligations immediately."

He said that, as an agricultural trading nation, Canada was aware of how important issues about export subsidies were to New Zealand. Canada's illegal export subsidies cost New Zealand about $80 million a year.

Because it was such a serious issue, Mr Sutton said, New Zealand was seeking World Trade Organisation permission to take action against Canada for its failure to conform to international trading rules related to its subsidised dairy exports.

"Canada was being too clever by half. They had already lost twice with a simliar scheme. This sort of thing gives the WTO a bad name ? wealthy industrial countries can delay justice by just going back to court again, and again, and again."

Ends


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