U.S. tables dairy proposal in NAFTA talks

The U.S. introduced its much-anticipated proposal regarding dairy during NAFTA negotiations on Friday, although it did not contain an explicit request for a percentage increase in market access into Canada.

The American proposal was focused on changing Canada’s milk class system and increasing transparency in supply management. The proposal would reverse recent changes to Canada’s classification system — the creation of the so-called Class 7 that sees milk protein concentrates priced at world prices. While the text does not specifically refer to increased market access, the changes proposed would have that effect, increasing U.S. competitiveness in diafiltered milk in Canada.

Dairy Farmers of Canada has been briefed and consulted by Canada’s negotiating team, but isn’t able to discuss details, having signed a confidentiality agreement, says DFC spokesperson Isabelle Bouchard.

“We are not surprised by the U.S. demands, they are in line with the demands they have made in other sectors. Outrageous,” she says, in a statement sent to Real Agriculture.

DFC expects this won’t be the only dairy-related proposal the Americans make.

“Given that the U.S. dairy industry has publicly demanded market access, we still expect to see a demand on this from the U.S. government at some point during the negotiations,” notes Bouchard.

Agriculture-related talks are slated for Saturday and Sunday, as the fourth round of negotiations continue in Arlington, Virginia.

More to come.

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