Friday, October 28, 2016

Wallonia’s farmers ill informed

The farmers in Belgium’s Wallonia province have little to complain about the Canada-European free trade deal, says Ron Davidson of the Canadian Meat Council in a lengthy interview with the CBC.

Canada gets an increase in the volume of beef it can sell to Europe from 15,000 to 65,000 tonnes per year, an increase that is spread over six years. Pork goes from six to 75,000 tonnes.

Canadian beef at that volume will still be less than one per cent of the European market and pork less than four-tenths of one per cent, he says.

Nor does the deal resolve Canada’s long-standing complaints about European bans on cattle fed or injected with growth-promoting hormones or tough restrictions on genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

Europe, on the other hand, gains unlimited, tariff-free access to Canada’s beef and pork markets and two per cent of the Canadian dairy market.

The Europeans also retain the right to impose health, safety and environmental standards on imports that match domestic standards.

The Europeans are expected to vote to approve a deal that Belgium reached Thursday with Wallonia, paving the way for the free trade deal to move ahead.

Even after this deal is signed, probably next week, it will still require ratifications, including by the Canadian parliament.