Liberals Commit to Dairy Compensation for Canada-EU Deal

Dairy Farmers of Canada is welcoming the federal government’s commitment to providing a compensation package to mitigate the impact of the Canada-EU trade deal.

There have been questions about the Liberals’ plans for trade deal compensation after the Conservatives pledged a $4.3 billion program for the supply-managed dairy and poultry sectors prior to their defeat in the federal election last fall.

Upon ratification, the Canada-EU deal would allow an additional 17,700 tonnes of cheese into Canada per year, which DFC says amounts to between $110-150 million per year in lost revenues and market share for Canadian dairy farmers.

“In anticipation of Canadian ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and as part of the government’s strong commitment to the Canadian dairy industry, we will move forward with a plan to help the industry adjust to market access concessions,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, in a joint statement on Monday.

The ministers said “an appropriate mitigation package is necessary for the Canadian dairy industry” and committed to meeting with industry in the next 30 days.

“Our conversations will address, among other issues, transition support for producers and processors, as well as proposed program and investment options. The government remains committed to the supply management sector,” said MacAulay and Freeland.

The Tories’ $4.3 billion package, announced at the conclusion of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was supposed to cover market access concessions made in both CETA and the TPP.

“Dairy Farmers of Canada are relieved that the government is committing to the long-awaited compensation, and is looking forward to working together to discuss what it will look like – using the joint CETA/TPP package announced on October 5th, 2015 as a starting point,” said DFC president Wally Smith in a statement on Monday.

He noted DFC will specifically ask the government to help attract new investment in processing capacity ahead of the deal.

“Processors in Canada need investments in order to help increase their capacity to compete in the post-CETA market. The time to make those investments is before the implementation of the deal,” said Smith.

He’s also hopeful the negotiations over compensation for CETA will provide a model for the TPP compensation package if the federal government ratifies the multilateral deal.

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