Dairy Farmers of Ontario representatives working to compensate farmers for trade concessions
The Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) is ensuring producers are up-to-speed with the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement.
Canada, Mexico, and the United States will likely sign the USMCA agreement on Nov. 30, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the G20 international forum will occur, a Friday DFO update
said. After officials sign the USMCA, each country must “ratify the agreement through their respective legislative processes, which could take several months,” the update said.
The USMCA agreement will likely take effect after the last country signs the agreement. Until then, the North American Free Trade Agreement will remain active.
The federal government has yet to release official text or further details of the USMCA agreement.
Lawrence MacAulay, minister of agriculture and agri-food, has created working groups with dairy industry leaders to determine ways to compensate the sector for the USMCA concessions. These groups will include officials from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, national dairy organizations and associations and regional representatives.
The federal government will work with provincial and territorial governments during this process.
Ontario will have three representatives who will:
• “Develop strategies to help producers and processors adjust to the short-term impacts of the USMCA, as well as impacts from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP);
• “Determine how to help the dairy sector innovate and remain an important source of jobs and economic growth for future generations. Academic leaders, as well as industry and financial experts, will also provide support to the working groups as needed.”
DFO representatives have met with government officials such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, MacAulay, and Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, over the past few weeks to discuss their disappointment with USMCA concessions, the update said.
Many producers remain unsure of the effects the agreement will have on the dairy industry.
“It’s going to have some effect on dairy producers, I just don’t know to what extent yet,” said Todd Arthur, a cash crop and dairy producer from Middlesex County. “It’s going to cause some difficulties, but it’s too early to tell, in my opinion, what is going to happen.”
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