With the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal being finalized, some dairy farmers in Ontario and Quebec are concerned that they will lose money now that foreign producers have been given 3.25 per cent more of the market on top of their existing 10. The government says farmers will be compensated for money lost, through a ten year program worth just over four billion dollars.
Tommy Faulkner, a local dairy farmer, gave his views on the deal.
“The three-and-a-quarter per cent of market access – I think that people in the industry were terribly worried that it could have been much more, and I think they all realize that there was going to be something given away because there had to be for the greater good. The greater good meaning other folks in the country that have other industries that need to be associated, and included in these trade talks. They knew there was going to be something given away, and anything was going to hurt, so I think that they find this amount to be livable.”
He went on to say that the 3.25 per cent will be the most lucrative products, and may effect a farmer’s profit margins by significantly more.
His main concerns, however, are how it will be interpreted, how it will be implemented, and over what period of time.
“..But they’re concerns, they’re not things that are frightening us.”
He believes that through allotting money over the next 15 years to improve processing, Harper may have created an export market that will be beneficial for everything. And while he’s unsure if farmers would welcome government subsidies in the worst-case scenario that they lose money,
“If subsidies are defined as helping create better processing, then that would be welcomed. Any way to get better science, and better research, and better technology would be welcomed by any industry.”
Faulkner also says that consumers should be grateful to Harper for preserving a valuable industry, and keeping prices competitive.