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Canada seeks no dairy changes when NAFTA talks start

Canadian officials say they want to keep their present dairy supply management policies as part of the modernized NAFTA agreement.

But, Chris Galen with the National Milk Producers Federation in the U.S. says Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland appears to want free trade where Canada is competitive and protectionism where they are not.  “She made it quite clear that they are going to defend their dairy supply management.  That’s their opening position, and our position is that that program really needs some serious reforms.  That’s the whole purpose of renegotiating a free trade agreement.”

Freeland addressed Canada’s Parliament Tuesday saying, “When innovators on both sides of a border are free to produce and sell their best wares to a wider market, while also getting access to goods and services from the other side, everyone wins.” But she went on to make exceptions to preserve Canadian culture and Canada’s system of supply management.

Galen tells Brownfield he is optimistic U.S. trade negotiators will make progress in the NAFTA talks for U.S. dairy, saying, “Everyone is posturing.  They’re sort of jockeying for pole position as we sit down, and we just need our trade officials to hold Canada’s feet to fire.  We want to preserve, of course, our market access in Mexico but we also need to see some things change with Canada, so hopefully, we can use NAFTA to make that happen.”

Canada’s new regulations and Class 7 milk pricing system have been criticized by the U.S. and Mexico, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the European Union.

Source: Brownfield Ag News

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