No mention of dairy yet in NAFTA talks

Dairy and supply management have yet to be formally discussed in the renegotiation of NAFTA, with the third round of talks set to wrap up on Wednesday.

Canada’s chief negotiator, Steve Verheul, indicated over the weekend that he did not expect the U.S. to table any dairy text in Ottawa. That was still the case on Tuesday afternoon, when Canada’s supply managed industry groups were briefed by Canadian negotiators.

Isabelle Bouchard, Dairy Farmers of Canada

“Nothing. Not yet, at least,” says Dairy Farmers of Canada’s Isabelle Bouchard in the conversation below.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland. is hosting U.S. Trade Secretary Robert Lighthizer and Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal at a private dinner on Tuesday. The trio will hold bilateral and trilateral meetings on Wednesday morning before wrapping up the five days of NAFTA talks.

Given President Trump’s focus on dairy back in spring, why hasn’t dairy been discussed? Would Canada be willing to compromise on the new class seven/ingredient strategy that U.S. dairy industry is upset about? And what do farm group trade people actually do during these trade talks? DFC’s Isabelle Bouchard discusses with RealAgriculture:

 

Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor for Real Agriculture based near Altona, Manitoba. Prior to joining Real Ag he spent more than 10 years working in radio. He farms with his father near Rosenfeld, MB and is on Twitter at

@realag_kelvin

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