Dairy farmers say new trade agreement with U.S. has ‘sold them out’

Dairy farmers say new trade agreement with U.S. has 'sold them out'
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WATCH: The people hardest hit by the new trade agreement may be dairy farmers. It’s allowing 3.6 per cent more U.S. dairy to come into Canada’s market.  Here on Vancouver Island, there are about 40 dairy farms and there are fears in the wake of USCMA, some will be at risk of closing.

From the moment Dave Taylor learned about the trade deal Canada had struck with the U.S. and Mexico, the Courtenay dairy farmer became upset.

“I literally was angry and still there is an anger,” said Dave Taylor.

As the president of the BC Dairy Association, he immediately started worrying about how the 40 farms on Vancouver Island and 500 in B.C. would weather the deal that Donald Trump immediately began praising as one of his best negotiations ever.

“The deal includes a substantial increase in our farmer’s opportunities to export American wheat, poultry, eggs and dairy,” Trump told a news conference outside the White House Monday.

“Including, milk, butter, cheese, yogurt and ice cream to name a few.”

Taylor said the deal, dubbed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), is frustrating.

“We believed that we had done a lot to convey our messages to government,” Taylor said.

“We believed that they understood the impact that this would have and yet in the end they have decided literally to say we’re going to trade that off.”

The new trade deal, a successor to NAFTA, will give the U.S. 3.6% additional access to the Canadian market.

“It means cows have to leave my barn. I don’t need them,” said Taylor.

“I don’t need their milk production anymore,” he said.

Clarke Gourlay of Parksville’ Morningstar Farms said the deal increases the insecurity of the industry.

“The government had promised it would protect the Canadian dairy industry,” said Gourlay.

“And now we find out they’ve given away more of the dairy industry,” he said.

Taylor said the  Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union means the dairy industry lost 1.5 per cent of the market and they also lost 3.25 per cent with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“All of a sudden we’re at 10 per cent of our market has disappeared or will disappear,” said Taylor.

Taylor says this deal will undoubtedly have Canadian dairy farmers questioning their futures and how many more cuts at their farm gate they can take.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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