SUBSCRIBE NOW AND SAVE 6 months for just $1

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Canadian farmers bolster defenses against Pacific trade pact

OTTAWA - Canadian farmers are stepping up their campaign against a nearly complete Pacific trade pact they fear will destroy protections for local dairy, egg and chicken producers and endanger jobs.

OTTAWA - Canadian farmers are stepping up their campaign against a nearly complete Pacific trade pact they fear will destroy protections for local dairy, egg and chicken producers and endanger jobs.

Farmers in the province of Quebec, which produces 40 percent of Canada's dairy products, ran full-page newspaper advertisements on Tuesday warning Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations threaten incomes and jobs.

The ads, featuring pictures of pitchforks, defend the country's supply management system, which shields farmers from fluctuating prices by controlling production and limiting imports.

Canada's partners in the TPP, which would link 12 countries and 40 percent of the world economy, are growing increasingly frustrated with Ottawa's refusal to discuss its dairy market as many think the deal could be done in weeks.

The rising pressure makes farmers worry about a repeat of last-minute concessions on cheese given in a European trade deal, although an about-face could cost the governing Conservatives votes in October's general election.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Any market volume that is not produced in Canada ... means (fewer) farms, less milk being produced," said Milk Producers of Quebec spokesman François Dumontier.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack warned Canada could be sidelined if it kept stonewalling and negotiators stress there is no time for multiple rounds of back-and-forth.

A senior U.S. official said Ottawa had not even laid the groundwork for more open markets through discussions with domestic stakeholders. "There isn't a scenario I can see where they both have TPP and don't make an offer so time's getting tight," said the official, who asked not to be named.

The United States wants to export a full range of dairy products, including milk, butter, cheese, whey and yogurt, as part of a package benefiting Canadian agriculture overall.

It is prepared to discuss options for sensitive goods, including tariff elimination over several years or tariff-free quotas which increase over time -- without necessarily scrapping supply management, the official said.

"You could do this a lot of ways and give our milk producers options that are good," the official said, without detailing potentially acceptable volumes or tariff levels.

National group Dairy Farmers of Canada is running digital ads noting the industry supports one in 10 jobs and generates C$18.9 billion ($15.22 billion) in economic output, and the government is showing no sign of compromise.

"We will not sign a trade agreement unless it is in Canada's best interest," Canadian Trade Minister Ed Fast told Reuters during a visit to the Philippines

Related Topics: POLICY
What to read next
The senator said that while he was privy to more details of the case, he could not provide specific details and referred further questions to Groszhans’ family.
Charles “Bud” Sedlachek was born in Jasper, Minnesota, in 1938, died of congestive heart failure in Brainerd at 83 on Jan. 3. The Crow Wing County farmer loved John Deere equipment, so a John Deere tractor led the funeral procession and he was buried in a custom-ordered John Deere casket.
In our ongoing efforts to provide you with the best ag news experience, Agweek is excited to announce a newly redesigned website with features tailored to help you easily find your industry news, market reports, weather and more.
The Internship Reimbursement Program funded 15 interns for eight employers from seven universities or colleges prior to the board approving three internships Monday, said Corry Shevlin, Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. business development director.