The National Post is reporting that the comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA) negotiations with the European Union have moved forward following Canada’s commitment to double cheese imports to 30,000 tonnes per year in exchange for added access to Europe’s beef and pork markets.
The deal is not done of course, but, if the quoted sources are correct, this marks a significant step forward in a trade deal that could mean $1 billion in added market for Canadian agriculture products on the whole. Which makes Canada’s export dependent sectors hopeful but, not surprisingly, does not sit well with Canada’s dairy sector.
All provinces will have to sign off on this trade deal, which will be a sticking point for the supply-management-heavy Quebec at a minimum.
The Dairy Farmers of Canada have released its statement, saying “the dairy farmers will not support the Harper government agreeing to a deal with the EU that gives away the Canadian cheese market that Canadian dairy farmers and cheese makers have worked so hard to develop over the years. Dairy Farmers of Canada is angered and disappointed with this news as the reality is that Canada would lose its small, artisan and local cheese makers and a world-leading industry with top quality products – within a short time frame. If this deal proceeds, the Canadian government will have given the EU an additional exclusive access of 32% of the current fine cheese market in Canada, over and above the existing generous access.”
The CBC is reporting that provinces were told about the tabled deal as of Monday. There is no word yet on when a final decision is to be made.