Source: Dairy Farmers of Ontario
Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) has committed to updating producers on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The following highlights some of DFO’s recent related activities and further information on the USMCA.
It has been reported the U.S., Mexico and Canada are expected to sign the USMCA on Nov. 30, 2018, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the G20 international forum is being hosted. After the deal is signed, all three countries will still need to ratify the agreement through their respective legislative processes, which could take several months.
The USMCA is anticipated to come into effect three months following the last country’s legislative approval of the agreement. In addition to the impact it will have on the dairy and agriculture industries, other industries that will feel the impact of this trade deal include oil and gas, steel, automotive, other agriculture sectors, textiles and apparel, alcoholic beverages and many others. Until the new agreement comes into force, rules under the North American Free Trade Agreement still apply.
The federal government has not yet provided official text and further details regarding the USMCA.
Representatives from DFO, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) and FarmGate 5 continue to work with the government to understand the agreement and expected impacts, as well as work toward the best possible outcome for the industry.
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay has announced new working groups composed of dairy producers and processors that will discuss strategies to fairly compensate the dairy industry in light of concessions made in the USMCA. The working groups will bring together officials from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, national dairy organizations and associations, as well as regional representatives. Ontario will have three representatives on the working groups. Their mandate will include:
- Develop strategies to help producers and processors adjust to the short-term impacts of the USMCA, as well as impacts from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP);
- Determine how to help the dairy sector innovate and remain an important source of jobs and economic growth for future generations. Academic leaders, as well as industry and financial experts, will also provide support to the working groups as needed.
The federal government will engage with provincial and territorial governments throughout the process.
Over the past weeks, DFO representatives have met with many government officials to express their disappointment in concessions made in the USMCA. Meetings were held with government leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford (Ont.), Minister Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay (P.E.I) and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman (Ont.).
Additional meetings were held with:
- Wayne Easter, MP, Malpeque (P.E.I.);
- Bev Shipley, MP, Lampton-Kent-Middlesex (Ont.);
- Kim Rudd, MP, Northumberland-Peterborough South (Ont.);
- André Pratte, Senator (Que.);
- Pierre Dalphond, Senator (Que.);
- Hon. Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification, MP, Winnipeg South Centre (Man.);
- Mike Bossio, MP, Hastings-Lennox and Addington (Ont.);
- Harold Albrecht, MP, Kitchener-Conestoga (Ont.);
- Ruth Ellen Brosseau, MP, Berthier-Maskinongé (Que.);
- Luc Berthold, MP, Megantic-L’Erable (Que.);
- Larry Miller, MP, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound (Ont.);
- Francis Drouin, MP, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell (Ont.);
- Diane Finley, MP, Haldimand-Norfolk (Ont.).
DFO is asking the government to honour its commitment to supporting the Canadian dairy system. Dairy farmers are not prepared todiscuss specifics of compensation until full impacts of the USMCA are understood. In the meantime, other areas the government can support are enforcement of border controls, Canada’s Food Guide, front-of-package labelling and a promotion levy on imported products.
DFO will continue to share relevant information as it becomes available.
For more information on the USMCA, refer to the consumer frequently asked questions (FAQs) document and infographic that are being shared on DFO’s website under the consumer tab, on DFO’s social media channels and directly with consumers. Please feel free to share these resources.