NFU urges Canada not to sign new NAFTA in its present form

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Agriculture -

The Na­tional Farm­ers Union (NFU) sent a let­ter to Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau and For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land on Nov. 29 urg­ing them not to sign the new NAFTA agree­ment in its present form.

“It has re­cently come to light that the pub­lished text – which is avail­able only on the US Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tives web­site and in English -- con­tains clauses re­gard­ing dairy tar­iff-set­ting au­thor­ity that dif­fer from what Cana­dian ne­go­tia­tors agreed upon,” noted Katie Ward, NFU Pres­i­dent. “The fact that the ne­go­ti­ated fi­nal text ei­ther does not ex­ist or has not been made pub­lic is rea­son enough to can­cel the planned sign­ing cer­e­mony.”

“The new NAFTA, or United States-Mex­ico-Canada-Agree­ment (USMCA) would se­verely dam­age our sup­ply man­age­ment sys­tem, which is the envy of strug­gling dairy farm­ers in the United States and around the world,” noted Cam Goff, NFU 1st Vice Pres­i­dent (Pol­icy).

“The agree­ment would also com­pro­mise the qual­ity con­trol sys­tem that is the foun­da­tion of the Canada’s in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion for premium qual­ity grain ex­ports, and it would al­low un­due cor­po­rate in­flu­ence over our seed reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem. With the USMCA’s on­go­ing rene­go­ti­a­tion process start­ing in year six, we may well see an ac­cel­er­a­tion of the de­struc­tion of our sup­ply man­age­ment, grain grad­ing and seed reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem.”

NFU Trade Com­mit­tee Chair, Terry Boehm pointed out that the USMCA text also con­tains a “very dis­turb­ing para­graph” that com­mits Canada to work with the USA and Mex­ico at the WTO to un­der­mine agri­cul­ture pro­grams in other coun­tries. Ar­ti­cle 3.3: In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion says “The Par­ties shall work to­gether in the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion to pro­mote in­creased trans­parency and to im­prove and fur­ther de­velop mul­ti­lat­eral dis­ci­plines on the three pil­lars of agri­cul­tural trade (do­mes­tic sup­port, ex­port com­pe­ti­tion and mar­ket ac­cess) with the ob­jec­tive of sub­stan­tial pro­gres­sive re­duc­tions in agri­cul­ture sup­port and pro­tec­tion re­sult­ing in fun­da­men­tal re­form.”

“Ar­ti­cle 3.3 in­di­cates that by sign­ing the USMCA, Canada will at­tack other coun­tries’ do­mes­tic pro­grams in pur­suit of fun­da­men­tal re­form that puts mar­kets and com­pe­ti­tion be­fore liveli­hoods and com­mu­nity,” said Boehm. “By any name, the USMCA or the new NAFTA, this agree­ment should not be signed.”

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