Statement from the President of Dairy Farmers of Canada on NAFTA agreement

Statement from Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada on a NAFTA agreement:

We have been informed of the conclusion of an agreement between Canada and the United States for a renewed free-trade accord.

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.

This has happened, despite assurances that our government would not sign a bad deal for Canadians. We fail to see how this deal can be good for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood.

 

Update 10:00 AM ET

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.

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canada’s 12,965 dairy farms.

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