Ottawa/Washington/Fraser Valley (With files from Huffington post) – Fraser Valley diary producers have been watching with a keen eye, over the Free Trade talks between the USA and Canada. A deadline was late Sunday night. This action eliminates the US and Mexico going to a trade deal alone.
Details are sparse, but in general, U.S. administration officials say this newly christened the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, or USMCA , will provide increased access to Canada’s dairy market for U.S. producers.
A main highlight is that this agreement limits the American impact of Canada’s controversial supply management system for dairy and poultry products, long a thorn in the side of President Donald Trump.
Imported car parts are another issue that was addressed, again an annoyance for Trump.
This deal can be reviewed every six years.
The Diary Farmers of Canada are, as expected, none to pleased with the deal:
Dairy farmers across Canada are deeply disappointed over the news of the concessions made on the dairy sector to conclude a new USMCA agreement.
Once again, dairy farmers again paid the price to conclude an international trade agreement.
“The announced concessions on dairy in the new USMCA deal demonstrates once again that the Canadian government is willing to sacrifice our domestic dairy production when it comes time to make a deal,” said Pierre Lampron, President of Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC). “The government has said repeatedly that it values a strong and vibrant dairy sector – they have once again put that in jeopardy by giving away more concessions,” he added.
USMCA follows two previous trade agreements in which access to the Canadian dairy market was granted, CETA and the CPTPP, which sacrificed the equivalent of a quarter of a billion dollars annually in dairy production to industries in other countries. This new agreement once again weakens the dairy sector which, among other things, employs more than 220,000 Canadians and contributes some 20 billion dollars a year to Canada’s gross domestic product. The livelihood of these thousands of Canadians and the future generations of dairy producers is seriously at risk.
“Today, the message sent to our passionate, proud and quality-conscious farmers and all the people who work in the dairy sector is clear: they are nothing more than a bargaining chip to satisfy President Trump,” added Mr. Lampron.
For consumers, each concession replaces Canadian dairy products, products made with great care by Canadians, using extremely high-quality Canadian milk with no artificial growth hormones. The USMCA agreement is opening the gate even further by letting foreign products, made according to standards inferior to our own, onto the shelves of our grocery stores.
The Canadian government has said loud and clear that it wants a prosperous dairy sector. It will be interesting to see how it can reconcile the concessions made in the negotiation of this agreement with its goal of prosperity.
Chilliwack City Councillor, Farmer and Realtor Chris Kloot told FVN: The Canadian government said it wanted to protect a strong vibrant dairy sector and the jobs associated with it, but then at the expense of hardworking farmers it gave away concessions, which in fact will erode Canadian dairy. This is a huge disappointment. Canadian farmers have been used as a bargaining chip to take what it satisfies to appease President Trump.
Social media is already lighting up against the deal:
Canadian dairy farmers not happy with #NAFTA , say they fail “to see how this deal can be good for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood.”https://t.co/9WskWQoT4q pic.twitter.com/ZdGEk2Jrpt
— Jody White (@JodyJodyWhite) October 1, 2018
I am not, and I repeat not, buying US dairy products. We are already at the mercy of chemicals and I am not adding more so as to save some $.
— PrairieVirgo (@Roxette54182179) October 1, 2018
If you are a Fraser Valley diary producer, we would like to hear from you on this issue.