I take issue with the statement in the July 10 news story "Farmers Block Canadian Border Crossings" that Canada and the European Union subsidize their agricultural sectors at similar levels. As demonstrated by the objective international comparisons published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), this claim is not accurate.

The OECD has developed a standard measure -- the "producer subsidy equivalent" -- of the proportion of total farmer revenue coming from government subsidies that compares the practices of different countries. In the case of wheat, for example, the EU's producer subsidy equivalent for 1998 is 56 percent. The United States' equivalent for wheat is 38 percent, well below the EU's but more than four times Canada's 9 percent.

In the case of all agricultural commodities combined, the EU's 1998 producer subsidy equivalent is 45 percent, compared with a 22 percent equivalent for the United States. Again, Canada is well below both at just 16 percent.

Canadian agricultural exports entering the United States are the product of an efficient agricultural economy and the result of a pursuit of premium markets by competitive producers and exporters.

D. G. WADDELL

Minister (Economic)

Deputy Head of Mission

Canadian Embassy

Washington