The Canadian dairy sector isn’t pleased with the results of the new trade deal which was reached between Canada and the United States.
While details are still emerging about the deal, which was reached late Sunday, what has come out hasn’t impressed the dairy sector and organizations like SaskMilk.
What is known so far is United States dairy producers will have additional access to the Canadian market, allowed to take an additional 3.6 percent. This comes after the United States was originally offered 3.25 percent during Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, which the U.S. walked away from last year.
While specifics in terms of financial impacts aren’t known yet, Peter Brown, the general manager of SaskMilk, anticipates there will be a sizeable impact on Canadian producers.
“As it ramps up over the next six years, it will mean, on an annual basis, $200 million worth of the Canadian dairy market,” Brown explained.
Brown further explained the deal could have an impact on Canadian exports of dairy products to countries other than the United States or Mexico.
He said the exports will be limited, not just to the United States, but to other countries.
“Why would an agreement with the U.S. allow them to control our exports to other countries,” he asked. “For instance, if we want to sell infant formula to China, we have to report that to the U.S., and if we go over a certain limit, then there is a levy that is applied. Why would another country like the U.S. have that control over our domestic policy? A very good question. We don’t have answers to that.”
He went on to point out it will have a major impact on the Canadian economy, and the long-term viability of the dairy industry as the supply management system takes a direct hit.
“There’s going to be a lot more information coming out over the next few days and weeks on this,” Brown added. “The interpretation on what’s in the text is really important, and so we’re certainly working on that and waiting on that from our national organization, so I think there’s more information to come.”
Brown also stated the dairy industry isn’t pleased with the results based upon what they were promised by the federal government.
“We woke up this morning to a situation where we’ve been effectively thrown under the bus."