Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

PM meets with Quebec dairy farmers post USMCA, promises compensation

Premier Promises To Protect Province's Economy Under USMCA 'It's like a death by a thousand cuts': Manitoba dairy farmers react to new trade agreement
Scott Davis | 05 October, 2018, 08:25

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has praised the USMCA, the new trade deal Canada has signed with the USA and Mexico, though not without criticism at home.

As for dairy companies the new agreement gives American dairy farmers more access to the Canadian dairy market.

The general sentiment among manufacturers is one of relief, said Dennis Darby, president and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

About the dairy processing industryThe dairy processing industry is the second-largest food processing industry in Canada.

The agreement is still awaiting ratification in all three countries, but for consumers in B.C. we'll soon see some changes to where we can buy USA wine, in USA dairy-product selection and duty-free limits.

Frank Haasen, owner of Haasen Farms Ltd.in Timmins, said the new trade agreement will have a significant negative impact on the dairy industry. The program saturated the worldwide market with subsidized skim milk powder and cut the demand from Canadian cheesemakers for ultra-filtered milk from the U.S. USMCA will include the development of new safeguards to prevent major export increases for certain dairy products.

"We recognize the symbolism of the gesture of Prime Minister Trudeau in offering to meet with our industry to hear our concerns firsthand", he said in a statement.

Under the agreement, Canada will eliminate its "Class 7" program that allows low-cost dairy ingredients to undersell American dairy products. Some will wind up in teas; some will end up in yogurt. Canada will provide new access for United States products including fluid milk, cream, butter, skim milk powder, cheese, and other dairy products.




Americans consume about the same number of gallons of beverages as they did years ago, but they're drinking a lot less milk. "Long term, we'll be producing less milk because those dairy products will be filled by American products".

While the Canadian government has repeatedly shared its intent to protect supply management, the outcome of USMCA fails to uphold the interest of Canadian consumers and the future of Canada's egg farms.

Supply management as we know it has been around since the 1970s.

"Over the past year and a half, we have repeatedly heard our government state that it would stand up for the Canadian dairy sector". As a result, Canadian specialty stores are constantly short of Gouda, mascarpone and a galaxy of other dairy products.

He also praised keeping dispute resolution panels, an exemption for Canadian cultural industries which "prevent the United States from taking control of the media sector in Canada". U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday there is no timeline for removing those tariffs.

"I don't see a big resurgence in prices because of it", said Bob Wellington, an economist for Agri-Mark, a Northeast cooperative based in Andover, Massachusetts, which represents 900 farms. "We really need to see what the details are in this agreement".

"We find it very unfortunate, and to us it's certainly very important in the coming days and weeks leading to the final signing of the agreement that they are able to resolve the situation".

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