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Dairy farmers unhappy with concessions made in new trade deal
Published Monday, October 1, 2018 1:53PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 2, 2018 7:45AM EDT
Canada has completed its negotiations on a North American trade agreement with the United States and Mexico.
After months of negotiations, the deal came to a close on Sunday evening.
US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter the deal would be called the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland held a press conference on Monday morning, touting the agreement as a win for Canadians.
“USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region,” Freeland said in a joint statement with US trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer.
Dairy farmers around Canada were not so convinced.
‘A dramatic impact not only for dairy farmers but for the whole sector’
Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, issued a statement criticizing the concessions made in the dairy industry.
“Granting an additional market access of 3.59% to our domestic dairy market, eliminating competitive dairy classes and extraordinary measures to limit our ability to export dairy products will have a dramatic impact not only for dairy farmers but for the whole sector,” he said.
According to Bruce Sargent, a Guelph dairy farmer, the biggest fear going into negotiations was that supply management, which regulates dairy in Canada, would be eliminated.
It wasn’t, but farmers believe the new agreement still weakens the system.
Support local with blue cow symbol, farmers ask
“All of Canadian dairy farmers are upset today because the Trudeau government has given away between three to five per cent of our future earnings to the US, and that’s annual,” he said.
Sargent encouraged consumers to keep supporting local by buying products with the blue cow on the packaging.
The symbol indicates 100 per cent Canadian dairy.
Sargent also said that giving up the Class 7 pricing agreement would also have a significant impact on Canadian dairy.
That agreement was put into place two years ago to restrict US exports of ultra-filtered milk.
Late last night, our deadline, we reached a wonderful new Trade Deal with Canada, to be added into the deal already reached with Mexico. The new name will be The United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA. It is a great deal for all three countries, solves the many......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2018
With reporting from CTV Kitchener’s Natalie van Rooy and files from Mike Blanchfield, the Canadian Press.