KAP’s view mixed on Canada-EU trade deal

KAP is concerned about the effect on dairy farmers, while welcoming more market access for beef and pork

Keystone Agricultural Producers’ (KAP) reaction is mixed to the Canada-European Union trade pact.

Increased, market access for Canadian beef and pork producers is important, but not at the expense of Canadian milk producers, KAP president Doug Chorney told reporters during KAP’s general council meeting Oct. 17.

“I don’t think we should throw some farmers under the bus to save others,” Chorney said. “That’s just not what KAP is about.

“We are unwavering in our support for supply management. That won’t change. That is a deeply entrenched policy.”

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The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), if ratified, would eventually allow the EU to export 29,000 tonnes of cheese to Canada annually, up from 13,000 tonnes.

But Canadian beef and pork exporters would be allowed to export 65,000 tonnes and 75,000 tonnes to the EU, respectively, up from the current 15,000 and 6,000 tonnes.

Canadian beef destined for the EU would also have to be hormone free and slaughtered in facilities that meet EU standards.

“I guess our concern is it’s three or four per cent of our market by volume and that’s significant to dairy farmers,” Dairy Farmers of Manitoba vice-chair Henry Holtmann told general council.

“We’re quite upset by the CETA deal.”

Both Holtmann and Chorney said they wanted more details about the agreement.

Chorney told general council whether one supports supply management or not it has a big impact on Canadian agriculture. According to one farm lender a significant amount of Canada’s $70 billion in farm debt is from the purchase of quota, Chorney said.

“That’s a big liability on those producers who stand to lose value on their quota,” he added. “We have to be cognizant of the fact that although market access is going to be a big win in many sectors it’s going to come at a cost to supply management if it’s traded away piece by piece.”

About the author

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Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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