Jim Facette arrives as executive director of the influential national lobby group Grain Growers of Canada at an opportune time.
The federal government is in-volved in multiple trade negotiations from the World Trade Organization to Pacific Rim talks, negotiations with the European Union, Brazil, India and others.
Grain and oilseed products often are key commodities in the talks.
“I think for our farmer members, the growth in the market is a key issue,” Facette said. “All of these trade talks are opportunities for farmers to expand their markets.”
But the former president of the Canadian Propane Association also has quickly learned that for agricultural exporters, the issue isn’t simply agreement for export market share.
“These agreements really need to make sure that when it comes time for our members to help feed the world, the world and our trading partners need to use sound science to judge imports and not junk science or emotion,” he said. “That really is an issue for our sector.”
Grain Growers of Canada represents 14 provincial and regional grain, pulse and oilseed groups with a strong emphasis on market development. It aligned itself with the federal Conservative government in the battle to end the Canadian Wheat Board single desk and has supported Ottawa in its emphasis on new trade deals.
However, Facette indicated that GGC is not holding its breath for any major breakthrough when World Trade Organization trade and agricculture ministers meet in Indonesia in December.
Grain Growers has been a strong supporter of multilateral trade agreements that are broader than bilateral market access deals and can deal with trade-distorting domestic subsides as well as tariff and trade barriers.
It has been a lobbying force at WTO meetings for more than a decade.
Facette said his organization still is debating whether to attend the next WTO ministerial meeting.