Farmers concerned trade deal will have a negative impact on local industry
Published Wednesday, March 8, 2017 11:18PM EST
Local dairy and cheese producers are concerned about how the Canadian-European Free-Trade Agreement could impact their bottom line.
The trade deal would eliminate 98 per cent of tariffs between Canada and the European Union.
Supporters say it will bring billions into the country's economy, but Ontario farmers, already feeling the financial impact of the province’s carbon tax, say the deal will affect their bottom line.
Ben Loewith, a third generation dairy farmer, says the new trade deal will double the amount of European cheese imported to Canada, meaning less milk production would be needed at home.
“We stand to lose about 2 and a half percent of our revenue which is significant," Loewith said.
Mike von Massow, professor of agriculture economics at the University of Guelph, says the worry is this trade deal may become a blue print for future deals, especially with talks of re-evaluating NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreements.
“The concern is what comes next? Sort of that death by a thousand cuts, if you will. Two per cent here, two per cent there starts to add up. And we’re not worried about the individual increments, but when there’s a bunch of them, it becomes more concerning,” von Massow said.
The federal government says it will provide $350 million in compensation to help dairy farmers and processors stay competitive in the new market.
At this point no one knows how the money will be distributed.
The Canadian-European Free-Trade Agreement is expected to be ratified in a few months.
It still needs senate approval.
With reporting by Tyler Calver.