Concerns raised about impact of EU trade deal on dairy industry
Published Tuesday, October 29, 2013 7:25PM ADT
Questions are being raised in the Maritimes about the impact of the proposed trade deal between Canada and the European Union.
Some Maritime industries could benefit from duty-free access to the European market, while others, like the dairy industry, say they could be at risk.
Ian and Hetty Smyth run a family-owned shop that has been making cheese for six generations. The Smyths say they are concerned about having to compete against larger European companies.
“We’ve helped grow the Canadian cheese market, but now the government is letting in more imported cheeses, especially cheeses that are heavily subsidized by foreign governments,” says Hetty Smyth.
Canadian cheese makers say the trade deal with Europe is unfair to their industry.
The federal government says the trade deal with the European Union will open up a market of 500-million people. In the Maritimes, the forest industry and seafood producers are expected to be the biggest winners.
However, the dairy industry is raising concerns.
“That’s what we are asking right now, is for the government to sit down and discuss it with us,” says Smyth.
Reg Perry, of the Dairy Farmers Association of New Brunswick, says the overall trade deal might be good for Canada, but worries about the impact on small, family-owned businesses.
“One of the things I really feel strongly about is the effect it could have on our small niche cheese makers that have sprung up in the country over the past ten years, that currently supply that marketplace and that these imported cheeses will displace,” says Perry.
The Smyths and others are fighting back. They’ve taken out full page ads, including one that features the Smyth farm near Sussex, N.B.
“Production companies in Europe, they’re huge,” says Smyth. “In one particular area of Holland, there is a billion dollar production plant being planned right now, in anticipation of greater exports out of the Netherlands.”
The Smyths and others have about two years to get ready for an anticipated flood of European imports, when the trade deal is expected to be ratified.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron