In order to renegotiate the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) it appears Canada will need to make concessions on dairy trade access for the U.S.
At issues in the discussions is the dairy supply management system that Canada has implemented to help protect farmers. The quota program is particularly popular in provinces like Quebec and Ontario, on the eastern, more populated side of the country where votes will be needed for the Liberal government leadership, says Shaun Haney, founder of Canadian agriculture news company RealAgriculture.com.
“The Prime Minister has said a number of times that ‘we need to be flexible on supply management.’ That means, I think, some increased market access for the U.S., but at the same time holding the pillars of supply management in place,” Haney says.
Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has been in discussions with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer about NAFTA and making a deal around dairy. Freeland is optimistic about getting a deal done after Mexico made labor adjustments that would enable Canada and the U.S. to be more competitive.
“What has really paved the way for what Canada believes will be a good week is the fact that Mexico has made significant concessions on labor,” she said. “These concessions really are going to be valuable to workers in Canada and the United States.”
For more comments about NAFTA by Freeland watch the video below and for more comments by Haney watch the video above.