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Cablegate: Canadian Federal and Provincial Trade Ministers

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS OTTAWA 003519

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/TPP/BTA, EB/TPP/BTA/EWH AND EB/TPP/MTA

WHA/CAN - BREESE AND HOLST AND E - U/S SHINER

STATE PLEASE ALSO PASS TO USDA

DEPT PASS USTR FOR MELLE AND CHANDLER

USDOC FOR 4322/ITA/MAC/WH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ETRD EAGR CA WTRO
SUBJECT: CANADIAN FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL TRADE MINISTERS
COMMENT ON DOHA TRADE ROUND, AGRICULTURE, SOFTWOOD LUMBER

REF: STATE 211956

1. Canadian International Trade Minister Jim Peterson and
several provincial counterparts (including those
representing Canada's four most populous provinces) met in
Ottawa on November 22 and spoke to reporters afterward.
Peterson stressed the GOC's continued hope for an "ambitious
outcome" from the Hong Kong ministerial.

2. Asked if Canada were prepared to make concessions to
balance those demanded from the United States and the
European Union, Peterson and his Quebec and Ontario
counterparts reaffirmed their commitment to Canada's "supply
management" arrangements in the dairy and poultry sectors.
Peterson said Canada "can accommodate our sensitive
industries because all countries have them." Such
industries are in a special category so that protecting them
"does not preclude ambitious cuts in other areas," allowing
governments to succeed "both politically and economically."
Ontario Minister Joe Cordiano added that "there is no reason
to give up supply management and we won't." Quebec Minister
Claude Richard said that supply management represents 40% of
his province's agricultural sector and must be defended.

3. Given the GOC's current week-to-week struggle to survive
votes in Parliament, Peterson used this occasion to attack
the federal opposition parties' efforts to determine the
timing of the federal election, now expected in January. In
prepared remarks, he said that "current political
instability at home will not impede our ability to be heard
in Hong Kong, but it will affect how the world sees us."
Under questioning, Peterson noted that even if the
government were defeated in Parliament prior to the Hong
Kong Ministerial, he himself would still carry Ministerial
authority until replaced. However, he asked rhetorically,
"How can we speak with the same credibility if we have been
defeated on a no-confidence motion? Have the Opposition
parties thought about the consequences for our position at
the WTO?"

4. On softwood lumber, Peterson and his colleagues repeated
the mantra that the United States must respect its
international trade commitments. BC Minister Colin Hanson
emphasized that on this and other issues, Canadians must
stand together regardless of party or province. Asked what
the GOC's options would be in coming days if the U.S. does
not cease collecting duties, Peterson said that he expected
a de minimis ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and
that the GOC's existing 4-part campaign (litigation,
retaliation, advocacy and alternative markets) remains in
effect. Peterson and Hanson both stressed that efforts to
seek new markets are in addition to, not instead of,
traditional markets.

WILKINS

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