Working groups to determine support for dairy and poultry

Canada’s supply managed sectors are waiting for more details about working groups the federal government has announced to deal with trade concerns.

Ottawa said Oct. 29 that two groups for dairy and another for poultry and eggs would work on how best to support producers and processors affected by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

A spokesperson for Chicken Farmers of Canada said Nov. 1 that the group didn’t have further details or a timeline for when the groups would start meeting.

Agriculture Canada said in an emailed statement it would consult with producers and processors to develop the groups, but they would include representatives from national and regional industry organizations and government officials.

“The groups will also engage closely with provincial representatives. The groups may call upon academic leaders, industry and financial experts, at their discretion,” said the statement.

One dairy group will work on mitigation strategies “to fully and fairly support farmers and processors” as they adjust to short-term impacts of the two trade deals. The other group will take a longer-term view of how the dairy sector can innovate.

The single poultry and egg group will take on both tasks.

Under the USMCA, Canada agreed to allow more American milk, poultry and egg products into the country, eliminate Class 6 and 7 that established a domestic price for certain milk proteins, and establish a way to monitor exports of skim milk powder, milk protein concentrates and baby formula.

Under the CPTPP, more market access for supply-managed products will be phased in over 13 years. World Trade Organization within-access tariffs are immediately eliminated and over-access tariffs are unchanged except for whey powder, margarine and milk proteins.

Canada’s market access for dairy under the USMCA is estimated at 3.59 percent and a total of 10 percent for all foreign competitors under all trade agreements, according to the government.

The government also says that since market access is based on specific volumes, Canadian production will rise with demand. It also pointed out that Canada has negotiated reciprocal access to the U.S. dairy market, including tonne-for-tonne access for most dairy products.

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