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Dairy farmers demand compensation amid pandemic, citing new losses due to CUSMA

OTTAWA — Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals.

Dairy Farmers of Canada representatives say they have received $1.75 billion in compensation from the government for losses they have incurred due to Canada’s trade deals with Europe and with Pacific Rim countries.

But they have yet to be compensated for a third trade deal: the new North American trade pact with the United States and Mexico that came into force July 1.

The lobby group says that by 2024 trade concessions will mean that 18 per cent of domestic milk will be outsourced to foreign dairy farmers.

David Wiens, the vice-president of the organization, says it didn’t want to push too hard at the start of the pandemic because the government had its hands full but now the dairy farmers are done waiting.

Access to Canada’s supply-managed dairy sector was a thorny issue during the negotiations of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe that went into force in 2017, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership that took effect in 2018 and the recent Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2020

The Canadian Press

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