BFF-40 Canadian dairy farmers criticize new trade pact with US





Canadian dairy farmers criticize new trade pact with US

OTTAWA, Oct 1, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Canadian dairy farmers castigated Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau’s government Monday for yielding to US demands for
greater access to Canada’s protected milk and cheese market as part of a new
continental trade pact.

The concessions were made in the final hours of year-long negotiations to
replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, which had been stuck on US
President Donald Trump’s insistence that Canada open its dairy market to US

The Dairy Farmers of Canada denounced the US-Mexico-Canada agreement,
warning that the concessions, which give US farmers an additional 3.59
percent slice of the Canadian dairy market, “will have a dramatic impact not
only for dairy farmers but for the whole sector.”

“This has happened, despite assurances that our government would not sign a
bad deal for Canadians,” it said. “We fail to see how this deal can be good
for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood.”

Preserving the protections for dairy was politically important to Trudeau,
whose Liberal party faces elections next year.

Milk-and-cheese-producing Quebec holds provincial elections on Monday that
are seen as an early barometer of national support for the ruling Liberals.

But Trump had threatened to leave Canada out of the trade deal altogether
if an agreement could not be reached by midnight Sunday, confronting Trudeau
with the prospect of broader disruptions to the Canadian economy.

Quebec’s former premier Jean Charest defended the new United States-Mexico-
Canada Agreement (USMCA) as “a good deal for Canada on balance.”

“Opening part of the market and allowing more products in while preserving
supply management” was largely expected, he told public broadcaster CBC,
adding that similar dairy market access was granted in recent free trade
agreements with Europe and in the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Canada’s supply-managed system controls the production and price of milk
and poultry and ensures stable incomes for Canadian farmers.

The Canadian dairy sector is worth Can$20 billion (US$16 billion).

“Dairy farmers are not happy but when Trump made that his key ‘ask’ over
and over and over again, I don’t think it could be ignored,” said Jon Johnson
of the CD Howe Institute, who helped negotiate the original 1994 NAFTA.

“It is not win-win-win but it is a survival thing,” Johnson told CBC. “We
got a deal that I think most Canadians can live with. No deal is perfect.”

He added that the pressure is now off and Trump “can now go off and deal
with China and deal with other people he wants to have trade wars with, and
we are out of his gun sights for the time being.”

“That’s really a lot better than the alternative,” he said.