TPP May Mean More Market Loss Than Originally Announced – Cowsmo

TPP May Mean More Market Loss Than Originally Announced

According to an expert from the University of Guelph’s Food Institute, Canada’s dairy sector might lose more under the full Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) than what was originally announced.

Over a month ago, the former Harper government announced Canada would give up 3.25 per cent of its dairy market over five years to allow for imports under the massive, 12-country trade pact.

Last week the full text of the TPP was released, and after studying it, Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of distribution and food policy, doesn’t think 3.25 per cent is the correct figure.

“So with dairy, there are 13 or 14 categories of products, including fluid milk, skim milk, cheeses,” says Charlebois, “and frankly when you add all the numbers up, the metric tonnes, I just can’t figure out how the government is actually coming up with the 3.25 per cent over five years. If you juxtapose the amount to our milk production on a yearly basis, Canada produces somewhere around 79 million litres of milk every year, and when you actually look at the metric tonnes, it doesn’t add up.”

The Harper government promised Canadian dairy producers $4.3 billion in compensation under a suite of programs to supplement the 3.25 per cent market loss. But Charlebois says the actual market loss would be closer to four per cent, especially when you factor in processed products like cheese and yogurts — which he was surprised to see on the list.

“You can’t compare a metric tonne of fluid milk with a metric tonne of mozzarella because you need eight litres of milk to produce one kilo of mozzarella, so you’re talking about two very different things,” he says.

While the jump from three-and-a-quarter to almost four per cent might not cause a tsunami overnight, Charlebois says it will create a breach in the supply management system. He also points out that there wasn’t a section in the deal’s text addressing food safety or protocol, which could be problematic as Canada’s dairy has specific standards.

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