NAFTA at the heart of milk producers’ concerns in some parts of Canada

Dairy farmers are refusing to see supply management as a bargaining chip in the NAFTA renewal negotiations. The question was at the heart of discussions today in Alma at the annual general meeting of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean milk producers’ union.

Dairy farmers are refusing to see supply management as a bargaining chip in the NAFTA renewal negotiations. The question was at the heart of discussions today in Alma at the annual general meeting of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean milk producers’ union.

In announcing the suspension of the imposition of duty on Canadian aluminum and steel imported into the United States, President Trump made it clear that this special treatment was tied to the gains that would be made at the bargaining table. NAFTA, and more specifically on agricultural issues.

For farmers, this is once again an attack on supply management that sets the production and price of milk in Canada.

Despite the guarantees given by the federal government, this attack is worrying, admits Mario Théberge, regional president of Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA)

We are afraid he [asks] a bargaining chip. You know a negotiation, often you have to leave something, it’s really worrying.

Mario Théberge, Regional President of the UPA

In fact, during the negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement with Europe, the federal government opened the door to European cheeses, a breach that widened with the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“Mr. Trudeau told me in October that he would not give new concessions. Let’s say we are going to watch him very closely and the messages from Quebec’s elected officials to the Liberal Party are very worrying right now, “says Daniel Gobeil, president of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean milk attorneys union.

Union leaders in the region believe that Donald Trump’s game should not be played by contrasting aluminum and milk. Both industries play a crucial role in the regional economy, it is recalled. It will be necessary, according to them, to find the means of safeguarding one and the other.

Hunter Texidor

Hunter Texidor was born and raised in Toronto. He has written for Billboard, The Prague Post and Passport Magazine. In regards to academics, Sage earn his BBA from Mcmaster in Hamilton. Hunter covers business and economy stories here at Billionaire 365.

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