Ontario dairy farmers need clarity on trade deal, province says


Most critical of the deal was the dairy industry, which railed against expanded USA access to the domestic dairy market and the elimination of competitive dairy classes.

The U.S. has large annual surpluses in they're dairy production, and gaining more entrance into our market will give them a place to move and store their products.

News of the new trade agreement is weighing heavy on those in the Maritime dairy farming industry.

"What that's created to do is increase the demand for production in Mexico, the United States and Canada", Robertson says.

Canada's new trade deal with the United States and Mexico is not siting well with one local dairy producer.

"We just gave away four per cent of that business forever to the USA and we got nothing in return", said Bruce Sargent.

Stan Ryan, Dairgold president and CEO says, "Dairy trade with Canada was one of the most hard and contentious negotiating issues to solve in the entire USMCA deal".

Canada also limits domestic milk production, keeping prices higher.

"It's a great win for the president and a validation for his strategy in the area of global trade", a senior U.S. official told reporters.

He says the new deal helps build on the trading success between Ontario and dozens of states but adds the provinces will vigorously defend and protect Ontario's economy and jobs. What they're going to ship into Canada is either some finished dairy products or they're going to ship in refined milk mostly.

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"Today the United States is measuring their success in terms of what they got and Canada is measuring their success by measuring what they didn't have to give up, so it's pretty clear which end of the stick we are on", Scheer told reporters. "There won't be any immediate impacts but if an American product is coming into Canada, it's going to shrink the market that we have to sell our milk in".

"We fail to see how this deal can be good for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood", Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, said in a statement.

“For instance, it looks like the U.S. will be able to ship 2,084 metric tons of cheese to Canada tariff free in the first year the agreement is in force with half the cheese being for industrial use and half for retail, ” he said.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind calls the deal a "step forward in this process", but says "now it's time for us to come together to discuss the outstanding issues that remain".

Warren Graeff, agriculture banking market manager for PNC Bank, says “ultimately the news appears friendly to the USA dairy industry.” PNC has about 2,600 branches spread across 19 states, including several in Madison and Milwaukee. These grocery store sales were very important to local wineries, particularly small operations, but this may be in jeopardy if sales of wines from huge USA companies are allowed alongside Canadian wines.

The deal does not, however, address the removal of the steel and aluminum tariffs U.S. President Donald Trump slapped on Canada last spring or the softwood lumber tariffs imposed in 2017.

"Our supply managed producers will be fully compensated, because that is the fair thing to do", she said without providing details on planned compensation.

Groleau, who was among the group that met with Trudeau, said they stressed the need for a true compensation program that covers farmers' losses.

Despite his praise for the deal, he cautioned that we are not at the finish line yet, as the agreement still needs to be ratified by all three countries.