Canadian dairy farmers say they’re on the losing end of a new trade pact with the U.S. that will allow Americans to ship more milk north.
The new deal, which also includes Mexico, will give the U.S. greater access to Canada’s protected dairy market and eliminate its new milk pricing system, one that’s been repeatedly attacked by President Donald Trump. Dairy was one of the core remaining hurdles to striking a renewed North American Free Trade Agreement and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had vowed to defend the nation’s restricted sector. Trudeau pledged to compensate farmers to cushion the blow.
“It’s been very, very disappointing they have agreed to it,” said David Wiens, vice-president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, an Ottawa-based industry group that represents the nation’s 12,000 producers. “It’s a big win for the U.S. and well, for Canada, it’s a loss.”
As part of the deal, Canada will eliminate its Class 7 milk policy that makes it cheaper for processors to buy domestic supplies of ultra-filtered milk, a concentrated ingredient used to boost protein content in cheese and yogurt. While the system helped support a wave of new processing capacity that’s being built across Canada, U.S. farmers complained it effectively blocked imports and dragged down world prices.