At the NAFTA negotiating table on Sunday evening, the U.S. is said to have requested that supply management be phased out within 10 years. Media outlets are reporting that Canada considers this demand ridiculous and has ended the conversation on supply management with its negotiators flatly rejecting the demand as ineligible.
The proposal is in fact totally unacceptable. It is just one of a series of exaggerated demands by the U.S. in other sectors of the negotiation. We appreciate our government’s fast and firm reaction in support of our sector. This reaction is consistent with its stated objective of the negotiation, which is to preserve the NAFTA exception for supply management in Canada. We also have very firm support from the Quebec government and many other business partners and the community.
Supply management guarantees Canadians access to very high-quality, locally-produced food. We avoid the overproduction and dumping in the world market practiced by the Americans. We receive our income directly from the market, without the government having to support us with subsidies. Supply management is just as legitimate as the U.S. agricultural policy known as the “Farm Bill,” which relies on one trillion in subsidies over ten years and is not even a subject of discussion in the NAFTA negotiations.
We will continue to closely follow the negotiations, along with our partners who produce other supply-managed products, the UPA and Dairy Farmers of Canada.
Let’s stay strong and united.
Bruno Letendre, Chair of Les Producteurs de lait du Québec
October 16, 2017