USMCA: La Coop fédérée disappointed in the concessions made for the United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
The strengthening of economic ties with the United States and Mexico clouded by new concessions for the supply managed sectors.
Montréal, October 3, 2018 – La Coop fédérée is disappointed by the federal government's concessions on supply management in the milk, poultry and egg sectors. La Coop fédérée is well positioned to recognize the importance of Canada forging strong commercial ties with its North American partners. It would have been desirable, however, for the USMCA to be concluded with full protection for supply management, a system that continues to demonstrate its effectiveness and relevance.
By ratifying an agreement that will create new breaches in the tariff barriers in place for supply-managed sectors, the government is not giving full recognition to the agriculture and agri-food sectors for their contribution to the economic and social development of Canada and its regions.
Stressing that trade liberalization generally favours economic growth, Ghislain Gervais, president of La Coop fédérée, nevertheless noted "That it is completely legitimate to want to protect Canada’s heritage, its agricultural know-how and its food security by maintaining the supply management system."
The new breaches in the supply management system are disappointing and are cause for concern, all the more so because they add to the concessions already given by Canada, one by one, during the ratification of the Transpacific Partnership, reached in 2015, and the Global Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, in 2016.
"We are concerned about the impact these concessions will have on the development of the country's regions and the rural dynamic. We are talking here about the future of thousands of families and their farms across Canada. It is also a question of respect for the values of Quebec and Canadian consumers who love the specific nature and diversity of the products that are produced here," added the president of La Coop fédérée.
The next step is to wait for the final texts of the agreement and the details of the compensation measures to better assess the impact of the agreement. "It will be necessary to analyze the scope of future programs dedicated to supply-managed industries in order to determine whether they will fairly offset the negative impacts of the USMCA in affected sectors, says Mr. Gervais. In this regard, the experience of producers following the TPP and CETA is not conclusive," he added. La Coop fédérée intends to discuss these questions with the representatives of the federal government.
Despite this disappointment, La Coop fédérée continues to believe in the future of supply management as long as the Canadian government takes the necessary steps to ensure strict border controls in the future. In addition, we are confident that the new agreement will help secure several other agri-food export channels to the United States and Mexico. In this respect, with regard to our exports of pork and other agricultural products, this agreement will enable La Coop fédérée to pursue its international development strategy, one of the most important pillars of its overall growth strategy.
About La Coop fédérée
Founded in 1922, La Coop fédérée is the largest agri-food enterprise in Québec, the only pan-Canadian agricultural cooperative and the 24th largest agri-food cooperative in the world. It represents more than 120,000 members, both agricultural producers and consumers, who are grouped together in nearly 70 cooperatives spread out across several Canadian provinces. It employs 13,000 people and has sales reaching $6.3 billion. Including its affiliated cooperatives, La Coop fédérée accounts for nearly 18,000 employees and combined sales of $9.2 billion. Its activities are divided into three divisions: Olymel S.E.C. (under the Olymel, Flamingo and Lafleur banners), the AgriBusiness Division (under La Coop and Elite, Agrocentre, Agrico, and Agromart banners), and Groupe BMR inc. (under the BMR, Unimat, Agrizone and Potvin & Bouchard banners).
To find out more, visit lacoop.coop website. Twitter: twitter.com/LaCoop_federee.
Ben Marc Diendéré
Senior Vice-president, Communication, Public Affairs & Brand Management
Senior Manager, Communications & Public Affairs