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Chicken, dairy farmers rip TPP concessions

Market access given with nothing in return, groups say

(Stephen Ausmus photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Updated, Jan. 25, 2018 — Canada’s supply-managed producer groups warn that the new Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade deal stands to chip away unnecessarily at their markets.

Chicken Farmers of Canada on Wednesday said the CPTPP deal, on which Canada pledged Tuesday it will sign in March, still includes concessions on market access for chicken products in response to U.S. demands.

Canada granted those concessions in 2016 coming out of negotiations for the original Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, before the U.S. withdrew from the 12-country agreement early last year, CFC said.

With the U.S. out of the partnership, the group said, “those concessions should have been taken off the table.

“This is especially true since none of the other partners have provided anything in exchange for this increased access to the Canadian chicken market.”

Other CPTPP signing nations include Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam along with Canada’s other existing free-trade partners, Mexico, Chile and Peru.

Specifically, CFC said, CPTPP access represents an additional 2.1 per cent of Canadian production that will be imported, on top of Canada’s existing commitments of 7.5 per cent, for a total of 9.6 per cent.

Turkey Farmers of Canada said Thursday the CPTPP translates to a 71 per cent increase in import access to the Canadian turkey market, worth “$270 million in lost farm cash receipts over the next 19 years, and a farm output loss of at least 4.5 per cent.”

Egg Farmers of Canada said the deal, once fully implemented, will cost its members the right to produce almost 291 million dozen eggs, plus 19 million dozen additional eggs each year after the implementation phase. Egg farmers stand to lose $1 billion in income, the group said.

“We need to make it clear that we have reached the limit of what we can give in any future negotiations,” CFC chair Benoit Fontaine said in a release Wednesday, referring in part to the current round of North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations in Montreal.

“If the U.S. wants access to our market, for example, they are welcome to rejoin the CPTPP.”

Dairy Farmers of Canada, which on Tuesday cited reports that dairy market access provisions from the original TPP deal would remain in the CPTPP pact, described NAFTA as “another vehicle that threatens to weaken the Canadian dairy industry.”

The federal government, DFC said, “must realize that there is a cumulative effect to these (market) carve-outs, which cannot be understated.”

“Our message to the Canadian government as it is negotiating NAFTA is simple: no more concessions — enough is enough, they cannot continue to carve out portions of the dairy sector,” DFC president Pierre Lampron said in a release.

CFC on Wednesday also called on Ottawa to start delivering on its commitments it made in October 2015 at the conclusion of TPP talks, including support programs and anti-circumvention measures relating to chicken.

Among those measures, the group said, were pledges to address mislabeled broiler chicken imported as spent fowl and the addition of sauce to circumvent import quotas.

The government also pledged at that time, CFC noted, for dairy, poultry and egg tariff lines subject to tariff rate quotas (TRQs) to be excluded from the Canada Border Services Agency’s Duties Relief Program (DRP).

“Increased access to the Canadian chicken market, especially without gaining something in return, is going to impact jobs from coast to coast,” Fontaine said. “These programs will help lessen the damage being done by the giving away of our market access.”

Canadian poultry and egg producer groups and related companies last week released a study by PwC Canada which warned that dropping Canada’s supply management system could pare the Canadian chicken market’s value by 40 to 70 per cent along with “most” of the Canadian turkey industry.

Dairy farmer co-operative Agropur last week cited a 2015 study by Boston Consulting Group forecasting similar losses, finding 4,500 to 5,000 farms or 40 per cent of production would be at risk if supply management were to end, due to raw milk price convergence with U.S. levels.

The 2015 study also forecast about 40 per cent of processing, largely in consumer dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and butter, would be at risk of shifting to countries with lower processing costs such as the U.S., New Zealand and the European Union, “with no guarantee of lower prices for consumers,” Agropur said. — Network

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