MONTREAL — Canada’s dairy industry says it has given up enough in past trade deals and shouldn’t bear any additional hardship in NAFTA renegotiations.
The head of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario says the U.S. should join the Trans-Pacific Partnership if it wants increased access to Canada.
Graham Lloyd says giving the Americans any more access to Canada won’t solve massive overproduction but would cause serious harm to the Canadian dairy farmer.
He says Canada should have recalibrated the amount of foreign access permitted under TPP when President Donald Trump withdrew from the trade deal. The remaining 3.25 per cent quota means that dairy from Australia and New Zealand will displace American product.
Dairy farmers say they’re concerned about NAFTA renegotiations given how much of the Canadian market has already been given away under WTO, the Canadian-European Trade Agreement and TPP.
New Brunswick farmer Michael Bouma says he’s hoping the federal government will honour its commitment to defend supply management despite intense pressure from U.S. negotiators.
He says the dismantling of the current system would be devastating for farmers in Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada, forcing many small farms to close.
The Dairy Farmers of Canada says Ottawa must recognize the cumulative impact of the trade deals and shouldn’t give up any more on the backs of the hundreds of thousands of dairy farmers and workers.
Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay insisted the government fully supports the supply-managed sector and that it intends to consult with industry stakeholders about potential compensation.
The supply management system was created in the early 1970s in response to wide swings in prices and interprovincial trade disputes as technology and other developments disrupted the agricultural markets.
The system sets prices and protects Canadian farmers from competition, creating stability for dairy, egg, chicken and turkey producers.
It also blocks out foreign production from the Canadian market through the imposition of tariffs, a mechanism that has resulted in long-running disputes with Canada’s trading partners.
The Canadian Press