James Sinclair (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)
Yes, western farmers. This matter connected with fruits and vegetables certainly is one which concerns the western farmers whom I know in my province. At Geneva the question of the protection of a country's fruit and vegetable farming industry during periods when it is in production was thoroughly discussed. Section 14 of the present Customs Tariff is being repealed and the new section 14 is being substituted therefor.
The new section authorizes the minister of National Revenue to fix the period when imported fresh fruits and vegetables are to be subject to the specific rates of duty pro-
vided for in the various tariff items covering fresh fruits and vegetables. The minister is also authorized to do something he could not do before, namely to apply it regionally. This is important in Canada where the various crops come in at different periods of the year. During those periods which are designated in the Geneva agreement by time, the length of the period in which these extra duties can be applied, the minister can regionally or nationally, by means of this extra specific duty, protect the Canadian farmer growing these fruits and vegetables.
Up until we concluded this Geneva agreement we had an agreement with the United States which, of course, this agreement now supersedes. That agreement called for three split periods for cabbage, carrots and beets. We were asked for the split period because of the nature of our problem. First in the season is when our own hothouses are producing these fruits and vegetables for the Canadian market, during which time they have to have a measure of protection against surplus coming in from the United States. Then there is the period later in the year, when there is field production, when we have to have similar protection.
That has now been extended. We now have a split period for beans, cabbage, carrots, beets, cauliflower, celery and lettuce.
Subtopic: CUSTOMS TARIFF