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Trade deal between Canada and the EU worries some dairy producers

Trade deal between Canada and the EU worries some dairy producers

Nova Scotian cheese producer among those concerned about competition

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

Dairy producers are raising concerns about what the newly signed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), signed between the European Union and Canada, could have on local markets.

The agreement will allow more than 17,700 tonnes of cheese to be imported.

Dairy Farmers of Canada said it understands the government’s need to sign trade agreements. The organization says, however,  the expanded markets for imported European cheeses could cost dairy farmers up to $116 million annually.

“Canadian dairy farmers have never opposed Canada signing more trade deals, as long as there are no negative impacts on dairy farmers as a result of these agreements,” the organization said in a statement.

In Nova Scotia, local cheesemakers and dairy officials are concerned the influx of foreign cheese could hurt local producers.

“It really affects the dairy farmers, the ones producing the milk nationally, as well as the small and medium cheese makers,” Brian Cameron, the general manager of Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia, told CTV News.

“We are going to have more competition because more varieties of cheese are going to be here and we’ve got to differentiate our cheese more and more,” Frazer Hunter, a cheesemaker who runs the only organic dairy farm in Nova Scotia, told CTV News.

"We already give access to more than 20,000 tonnes to our market. Fine cheeses in Quebec represent between 50,000 to 90,000 tonnes,” Alain Bourbeau, general manager of Quebec Dairy Producers, told CBC. “If there's 16,000 tonnes more coming in the country, it represents between 20 and 30 per cent concessions to the largest cheese processors in the world. So the pressure will be very big here."

To learn about the pork industry’s views on CETA, read this other Nov. 2. article