Canada’s largest agriculture lender believes predictions of a re-negotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are premature and a patient strategy is the best path forward for the Canadian government and the country’s supply managed sector.

Speaking at the Canadian Dairy XPO last week in Stratford, Ont., Farm Credit Canada agricultural economist Jean-Philippe Gervais told dairy farmers that the Trump administration’s efforts to renegotiate NAFTA will likely first focus on Mexico. He believes that when Canada does come to the negotiating table negotiators will be able to mount a strong defence of supply management.

“I think we do allow market access in dairy. I’m not necessarily sure we need to renegotiate that,” said Gervais. “I’m fairly optimistic that we’re looking at the status quo when it comes to NAFTA and the implications for Canadian dairy farmers.”

In this interview, Gervais reviews highlights of FCC’s 2017 economic outlook, which predicts steady interest rates, a Canadian dollar that averages 75 cents, and “cooling down” of farmland values. Gervais also discusses opportunities for Canada’s agriculture sector with the demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the potential for bilateral agreements with countries such as Japan.

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