Monday, October 5, 2015

TPP gives up a sliver of dairy and poultry markets

The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal gives up a sliver of the Canadian supply-managed dairy and poultry markets, according to a news release from the federal agriculture department.

The deal yields 3.2 per cent of the Canadian dairy market, with, the government says “a significant majority of the additional milk and butter being directed to value-added processing,” 2.3 per cent for eggs, 2.1 per cent for chicken, two per cent for turkey and 1.5 per cent for broiler hatching eggs.

Those imports will be controlled by quotas and will be phased in over five years.

Despite those minor changes, the federal government is offering more than $4 billion in compensation program. It's outrageous. These farmers are paper millionaires.

Quota-holding farmers get a 10-year guarantee that their incomes will not decline, plus five years of declining support. It would be nice if minimum wage earners could get similar guarantees.

That, says the government, is worth $2.4 billion.

It is also guaranteeing quota that is sold will not fall below current prices. The government says it has $1.5 billion for that program. It would be just as sensible to guarantee house prices. In other words, not sensible at all.

Processors get a $450-mlllion “modernization program” to improve their competitiveness and $15 million will be added to their AgriMarketing Program. Did they not see this coming for at least a decade or two. Did they not line their pockets with supply-management profits?

Chicken farmers get a promise that the border will be tightened on imports of spent fowl. 
That makes sense in the face of "spent fowl" imports last year that totalled more than the total U.S. population of spent fowl.

Spent fowl importers will be prevented “from circumventing import quotas by adding sauce packets to chicken products,” the news release says. How about checking imports to ensure the chicken is really spent fowl?

Supply-managed products will be excluded from the Government of Canada’s Duties Relief Program.

Cheese compositional standards, introduced by the Government of Canada in 2008, have been maintained. 

“The TPP will secure new market access opportunities for Canadian dairy, poultry and egg exports. Dairy, poultry and egg producers and processors will benefit over time from increased duty-free access to the United States and all other TPP countries,” the news release says.

The dairy industry will, no doubt, be eager to dump surplus skim milk powder into the U.S.

“This will include complete tariff elimination on some specialty cheeses, including several artisanal cheeses, entering the United States.”

There is no mention of fluid milk imports that have been flooding across the Eastern Ontario and Quebec borders from New York and Vermont, milk that evades tariffs because it has been stripped of some ingredients and therefore no longer qualifies as milk under detailed tariff definitions.

Quebec farmers have been mounting demonstrations to protest the imports which go into production of cheeses and other dairy products.