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U.S., Mexico and Canada sign USMCA

U.S., Mexico and Canada sign USMCA

The deal still requires ratification before it can come into effect

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

American, Canadian and Mexican leaders took another step towards putting an important trade deal into action.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) today. Once enacted, this deal will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The deal still needs to be ratified by all three countries before it becomes law.

Canadian dairy farmers aren’t happy with how the USMCA affects their industry.

As part of concessions made to the U.S. during the negotiations, Canada gave up almost 4 per cent of its dairy market to allow American dairy to enter the country. Canada will also eliminate its class 6 and 7 milk prices.

And the dairy industry is particularly concerned about one element of the negotiations.

Under the USMCA, Canada must notify the U.S. before it makes any changes to tariff classifications and allow the U.S. the opportunity to review the change and ask for more information.

Canadian dairy farmers feel the federal government misled them about this part of the agreement.

“At a meeting with your key officials following the announcement of the agreement and publication of the U.S. text, Dairy Farmers of Canada was told that the issue of U.S. oversight had not been agreed to by Canada – and would not be part of the final agreement,” the organization wrote in an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau yesterday.

“We remain concerned that we have not yet seen a final text with this portion excluded.”

Canadian dairy producers also worried about how the USMCA will impact their bottom lines.

With more U.S. products coming into the country, producers may not make enough to be able to expand their operations, said Tim Cowan, a dairy farmer from Huron County.

“It seems like the dairy industry gets sacrificed for the sake of other industries,” he said. “We’re trying to create a stable, quality product, but we’re letting in products that might not be as high quality as ours. And you could say that, with all these agreements and the way they hit us, any chance of us expanding was just given away to the U.S.”

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