Hamilton, N.Z. | MCO — Canada’s supply-managed sectors should not worry about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from where New Zealand’s Trade Minister Tim Groser sits.
“I can understand why producer groups would wish to perceive this in a different way, but this is not the end of supply management,” he said here Thursday.
“I don’t think anyone in Canada will be able to sustain the idea that this is the end of the Canadian dairy industry and supply management.”
The 12 countries involved in the TPP announced Oct. 5 they had reached an agreement on a new Pacific Rim trade deal. Among its other commitments, Canada pledged a slight opening in its tariff wall for imports of TPP countries’ dairy, poultry and eggs.
The TPP member nations are working to make the details of the agreement public as soon as possible, Groser said, partly at the behest of the Canadian government.
“We are very, very conscious of the pressures on the Canadian government, because our Canadian friends are facing an election in a few days time,” he said.
Groser, New Zealand’s lead negotiator in the TPP talks, went on to indicate 99 per cent of the trade pact’s text has been finalized.
International lawyers, however, are working to “stabilize the interpretation of the one per cent,” he added.
Groser said he wasn’t aware of the details of any compensation package Canadian producers might be receiving, describing that as a domestic matter.
Canadian officials on Oct. 5 pledged up to $4.3 billion over 15 years in income protection, quota value guarantees and marketing funds for the country’s supply-managed dairy, poultry and egg producers and processors.
Groser’s comments were made at the annual congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ), held this year in New Zealand’s primary dairy-producing region.
New Zealand, one of the founding TPP partners, produces three per cent of the world’s milk and exports about 90 per cent of its agricultural output.
Groser has advocated for more open markets and an end to protectionism. “It was export or die for us,” he said.
— Shannon VanRaes is a reporter for the Manitoba Co-operator, based in Winnipeg. Follow her at @ShannonVanRaes on Twitter.