Tag Archives: Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has assured dairy farmers they will be compensated for their expected losses under the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Trudeau says he made the pledge as he met with dairy industry representatives in downtown Montreal today.

Canadian dairy farmers stand to lose 3.59 per cent of their market under the new trade deal, known as USMCA.

The prime minister says the government will be working with dairy producers in the coming months to determine the amount of compensation.

Trudeau says the dairy representatives told him today they are worried and that they have given up a lot in recent trade deals signed by Canada.

The prime minister acknowledged those sacrifices, saying he wants to ensure dairy farmers have confidence in the industry’s future.

Stalled talks between the U.S. and Canada regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement are expected to continue this week, as the U.S. desires to reach a deal by September 30th.

Informal talks are likely over the next few days, according to Reuters, as global attention turns towards a U.N. meeting this week. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says nothing had formally been arranged for this week, however, leaving further uncertainty as to whether the U.S. will continue to seek a trilateral agreement.

The U.S. appears likely to forge ahead with a U.S.-Mexico only trade agreement until the U.S. can reach an agreement with Canada beyond the September 30th deadline. Trudeau offered some push back over the weekend, saying Canada would not be rushed into reaching an agreement and that he would not sign “a bad NAFTA deal.” Dairy market access remains a sticking point between the two nations, among a handful of other remaining issues.

Talks between Canada and the U.S. regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement are intensifying in Washington, D.C. Bloomberg says Canadian dairy farmers recently told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau not to use access to the protected Canadian dairy market as a bargaining chip.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada says it’s already lost $193 million because of past trade agreements and they won’t accept more losses. “The work of our lives seems to have been reduced to a bargaining chip,” says Dairy Farmers of Canada president Pierre Lampron. The group, along with the Dairy Producers of Manitoba, says farmers will hold Trudeau accountable for his promise to defend the supply-management system. The threat may have added strength because of Canadian national elections which come in about a year.

They say Canada’s market is too small to accommodate U.S. overproduction, saying the Class Seven milk targeted by President Donald Trump is worth protecting. Both groups issued a statement saying, “We will hold our prime minister accountable for saying he will defend supply management and dairy in the NAFTA negotiations. We have articulated clearly that the support means no access will be given to the Canadian dairy market.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back in Washington — and back in search of a way to bridge the divide that’s keeping Canada out of a new North American free trade pact.

Freeland flew back to the U.S. capital Tuesday as a prominent congressional ally of President Donald Trump made it clear that American lawmakers are growing weary of what they see as Canadian intransigence.

House of Representatives majority whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is warning of “growing frustration” on Capitol Hill with what he calls Canada’s “negotiating tactics.”

Trade observers say that while many in Congress want Canada to be part of a three-way trade deal, they may not be willing to sacrifice an agreement in principle between Mexico and the U.S. negotiated earlier this year.

That deal is widely seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 in order to survive the arrival of an incoming Mexican government whose supporters have mixed feelings about the deal.

Canada, meanwhile, has been pushing back against deadlines declared by the Trump administration — first the end of August, then the end of September.

“While we would all like to see Canada remain part of this three-country coalition, there is not an unlimited amount of time for it to be part of this new agreement,” Scalise said in a statement.

“Mexico negotiated in good faith and in a timely manner, and if Canada does not co-operate in the negotiations, Congress will have no choice but to consider options about how best to move forward and stand up for American workers.”

Freeland, who will be joined at the table today by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, says Canada has been negotiating in good faith throughout the process, which is about to enter its 14th month.

“From the outset of these modernization negotiations, Canada has been extremely co-operative,” Freeland said Tuesday. “Canada is very good at negotiating trade deals. Canada is very good at finding creative compromises. We have been extremely engaged.”

Negotiators have been working “extremely hard” and are committed to doing the necessary work to reach an agreement, she added — but they aren’t about to settle for just any agreement.

“It is our duty — it’s my duty — to stand up for the national interest and I will always do that.”

Trump, for his part, sounded a familiar note, accusing Canada of having long taken advantage of the U.S. even as he sang the praises of his country’s northern neighbour.

“We love Canada. We love it,” he told a news conference. “Love the people of Canada, but they are in a position that is not a good position for Canada. They cannot continue to charge us 300 per cent tariff on dairy products, and that’s what they’re doing.”

Ottawa has privately expressed frustration with Mexico’s decision to go it alone last month. But one source familiar with how the negotiations have progressed, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss details freely, says Canada transgressed first with a surprise auto proposal last spring.

Mexico still wants Canada in a three-way deal — so much so that the language in the deal with the U.S. was written to facilitate a trilateral agreement, the source said. And Mexico feels their agreement works in Canada’s favour on a number of fronts.

While Canada has been pushing for wording in NAFTA aimed at strengthening labour protections and gender equality, the overall negotiations are said to have stalled over Canada’s insistence that an agreement contain an independent dispute-settlement mechanism.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also vowed to protect Canada’s so-called supply management system for dairy and poultry products against U.S. demands for greater access by its farmers to Canada’s dairy market. Sources say Canada has offered some limited concessions on access while also ring-fencing the system itself.

A spokesman for Trudeau tweeted late Tuesday that the prime minister had spoken with Trump to convey his condolences on the loss of life from hurricane Florence, which has left 37 people dead in three states. Cameron Ahmad wrote that the two leaders also discussed the ongoing NAFTA talks, with Trudeau reaffirming “his commitment to a deal that works for both countries.”

Supply management has been a big issue in the provincial election campaign in Quebec, home to about half of Canada’s dairy farms. Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard has warned there will be “serious political consequences” if there is any further dismantling of the protections for dairy farmers through NAFTA negotiations.

That has some trade watchers suspicious that Ottawa may be trying to get past Oct. 1, which is election day in Quebec, as well as a latest congressional deadline.

“The rumblings around Washington have been Canada may attempt to push any deal beyond Oct. 1, largely due to the Quebec election,” said Dan Ujczo, an Ohio trade lawyer with Dickinson Wright.

“Rep. Scalise is putting down the marker that these are real deadlines.”

EDMONTON – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says Ottawa should continue to allow producers to use strychnine to kill prairie gophers.

Health Canada is proposing to ban the use of the poison to control the rodents formally known as the Richardson ground squirrel.

There is concern strychnine kills other animals, including species at risk such as the swift fox and the burrowing owl.

The federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency is giving people and groups until Sept. 27 to comment on the proposed ban.

The cattlemen’s association says the regulated use of liquid strychnine should continue because it is an effective tool and there is no practical alternative.

Gophers, which burrow underground, can damage crops and hurt livestock.

The United States still demands a dairy fix in the North American Free Trade Agreement, but Canada still wants to protect its dairy industry.

While Canada may be ready to give some concessions on dairy market access, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his allies have strong political motivations to stand firm. A trade lawyer told Politico this week that much of the focus is on Canada’s Class 7 milk, a class created last year that has disrupted trade between the U.S. and Canada.

The trade expert says those talks are “highly technical” and will take days to complete, but suggested an agreement is still possible, “even likely this week.” Talks between the U.S. and Canada are expected to continue with an overall goal to complete the agreement by the end of this month. Mexico officials are also back in Washington, DC to propel the handshake agreement between the U.S. and Mexico forward.