North Carolina Farm Bureau Urges Canadian Government To Amend Legislation Banning American Tobacco Products

July 31, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C., July 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – North Carolina Farm Bureau (NCFB) announced today that it is joining numerous other agricultural and tobacco-growing organizations in supporting an advertising campaign calling upon Congress and the Obama Administration to urge their counterparts in the Canadian Parliament to oppose or re-examine legislation that would ban American cigarettes blended with burley and flue-cured tobacco. The bill, known as C-32, would impose undue hardships on farmers who grow burley and flue-cured tobacco and could lead to other countries following Canada’s protectionist lead, a development that could destroy an entire segment of the American tobacco growing community and affect thousands of jobs in the U.S.

C-32 has passed the House of Commons and will likely be considered by the Canadian Senate when the Parliament returns from its summer recess in September. The bill, which was originally intended to prohibit the production and sale of candy-flavored cigarillos to minors, has been expanded into an overreaching bill that would ban the entire category of American blend cigarettes, leading to loss of thousands of jobs and a worsening of trade relations between the United States and Canada.

“We agree with the Canadian Parliament that candy-flavored cigarillos clearly targeted to minors should be banned. There is no place for these products in a responsible tobacco market,” said Larry Wooten, President of NCFB. “But C-32, as it stands, goes way too far. This discriminatory bill targets American blend cigarettes and growers of burley and flue-cured tobacco, while not banning the more popular Canadian tobacco. If this legislation is enacted, people working in North Carolina’s tobacco industry will needlessly lose their jobs and support for continued free trade between the United States and Canada will be diminished.”

The advocacy campaign will feature two print advertisements over the next two weeks in Roll Call, The Hill and Politico, three newspapers that are widely read by Members of Congress, U.S. Senators, and policymakers inside the Obama Administration. The advertisements, which are entitled “Barn” and “Farm Couple,” are attached to this press release.

“C-32 must be fixed before it is enacted,” said Wooten. “Our elected officials in Washington need to send a clear message to their counterparts in Canada that they should stop and think before they destroy American jobs and increase trade tensions,” he continued. “There is too much at stake for them to continue with this misguided piece of legislation that will needlessly destroy American jobs and lives.”

Already, a number of Members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, have voiced their concerns to the Canadian government about the negative impact C-32 would have on American jobs and trade relations with the United States. The elected officials writing letters on this issue include U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY), U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY), U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), U.S. Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), and U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA).

As a further show of support, leading business organizations in Canada and the United States, such as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the United States Chamber of Commerce, have written letters to Canadian lawmakers and government officials to voice their opposition to C-32 as it is currently drafted. Copies of these letters and those sent by the above lawmakers are available upon request.

The following organizations are participating in the advertising campaign to educate American and Canadian policymakers about the negative impact C-32 will have on jobs and trade relations between the United States and Canada:

North Carolina Farm Bureau, Burley Stabilization Corporation, Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association, Council for Burley Tobacco Inc., Fair Products Inc., International Tobacco Growers Association, Kentucky Farm Bureau, North Carolina Agribusiness Council, North Carolina Growers Association, Palmetto Agribusiness Council, Philip Morris International Inc., Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina and the Virginia Farm Bureau.

About North Carolina Farm Bureau (NCFB):

North Carolina Farm Bureau (NCFB) is the unified, statewide Voice of Agriculture(R). Working through our grassroots organizations to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural North Carolinians, we strive to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities. We are a private, non-profit, grassroots organization that has been actively promoting farm and rural issues since 1936 through legislative and policy initiatives, member services, field representation, agricultural education, public relations and other programs.

SOURCE North Carolina Farm Bureau

Source: newswire

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