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Canada continues to defend supply management during NAFTA talks

Canada continues to defend supply management during NAFTA talks

The issue is a “non-starter,” says Ontario’s agriculture minister

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

Despite increased pressure from the United States, Canada will not change its stance on supply management.

Canadian, Mexican and American representatives are in Mexico for the fifth round of NAFTA negotiations.

Canadian negotiators remain firm that changes to supply management are off the table, despite the American suggestion that Canada should end supply management in 10 years.

The idea of eliminating supply management is “outrageous,” a “non-starter and a non-negotiable item,” Jeff Leal, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, told reporters during yesterday’s conference call from Mexico City.

While many of the trade discussions have focused on American critiques of Canada’s dairy industry, there are issues Canada would like to see its southern neighbour ease up on as well.

Specifically, Canada would like to see a thinner border when it comes to exporting goods to the United States. Which could also be beneficial for Mexican products entering the U.S., Leal says.

“One of the challenges we have is shipping things like fresh beef and fresh pork,” he said. “One area we think would be helpful for all three countries is a reform of the regulatory framework. It’s something that was raised with me during my seven-state tour in June and most recently at the (Tri-National Agricultural Accord) in Denver.”

Canada’s position is to participate in the NAFTA negotiations until a fair deal can be reached for all three countries, according to Leal.

“The position of the Government of Canada is to continue to negotiate NAFTA,” he said. “We’ll continue to be at the table as long as it takes because there’s clear evidence that NAFTA has been very beneficial for Canada, the United States and Mexico.”

The sixth round of NAFTA negotiations are scheduled to take place in Montreal, Que. in January 2018, according to Global News.

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