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July 26, 2009 (10 a.m. EDT)
Canada Requests that the European Union Reconsider Seal Products Trade Ban
The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, today issued the following statement after learning that the European Council of Ministers is slated to consider adopting a proposal for a regulation on trade in seal products as early as tomorrow, July 27, when the Council meets in Brussels, Belgium.
“The Government of Canada is gravely concerned that the European Union is continuing to push for a ban on seal products without any consideration of an exemption for Canada’s humane and sustainable seal hunt. The proposal currently being considered within the EU will serve no purpose other than to damage the livelihood of coastal and northern Canadians and their families.
“We are calling on the European Union to reconsider the proposed seal products trade ban.
“Canada has clearly lived up to its obligations, and our position remains that any ban on a humanely conducted hunt such as Canada’s is completely without cause.
“We are particularly concerned that no one in the European Union has listened to the Inuit on this matter. This misinformed and ill-considered regulation will strike at some of Canada’s most vulnerable communities.
“Canada’s seal hunt is lawful, sustainable and humane, and the Government of Canada has worked hard to defend Canada’s position internationally over the last few years. The issue has been raised at every opportunity at the highest levels, including by the Prime Minister.
“Direct representations have been made abroad by Canada’s diplomatic community, and delegations have met with European officials, among other advocacy activities.
“Canada urges the EU to consider the effect of this proposed regulation on northern communities and to listen to Inuit views on the issue. Inuit groups are unanimous in their condemnation of this measure, particularly in the context of the commitment by the EU to take into account the interests of northern peoples.
“Should the EU choose to adopt a seal products trade ban that does not contain an acceptable derogation for humanely harvested seal products, Canada will defend its rights and interests under the relevant World Trade Organization agreements.”
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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
Office of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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