Tuesday, October 6, 2015

TPP deal much ado about little

Supply management marketing board leaders made a mountain out of a molehill over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

In fact, very little will change.

The dairy industry is already losing much more than the five-year phase-in of the TPP’s deal to open 3.2 per cent of the market. Ingredient imports are crossing the border into Ontario and Quebec by tanker truckloads, heading to plants that use it to make cheese and other dairy products.

The egg industry is already yielding more than the TPP deal to supplementary import permits, so there won’t be any noticeable change there.

The chicken industry has yielded a significant market share to imports of spent fowl, imports that are quite obviously not always the spent fowl they claim to be. The U.S. is shipping more spent fowl to Canadian processors than total U.S. supplies.

The hatching egg and turkey industries will be yielding real market share – 1.5 and two per cent – but phased in over five years.

And in return the government has promised quota holders more than $4 billion in compensation.
As a taxpayer, I think that’s outrageous.

No other farmers have their net incomes guaranteed for 10 years. No other farmers have their investment in assets price-guaranteed for 10 years, as do the quota holders.

And then there’s the promise of an additional five years on a sliding scale.

I recall a time when farmers lectured the public not to complain about food prices when their mouths were full.