CETA deal worrying Island cheese makers
Stephen Harper is expected to release final details in two weeks
As Canada and the European Union near the homestretch of negotiations in a mammoth trade deal, some cheese makers on Prince Edward Island worry about what a flood of foreign cheese could mean for business.
In less than two weeks Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to release the final details of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
The two sides signed a tentative deal in October in an effort to open up markets and drop nearly all import taxes on everything from food to cars to metal and forestry products.
"I think overall it's probably not good for the Canadian cheese industry,” said Prince Edward Island cheese maker Jeff McCourt.
The Glasgow Glen Farm owner doled out cubes of cheese at the Great Island Grilled Cheese Challenge on Sunday.
Amid the taste testing there was a cloud of concern.
The deal opens up the market to more competition. Under the new agreement, European cheese makers will be allowed to sell Canada 29,000 tonnes of cheese, more than double the current quota.
Dairy Farmers of Canada cheese expert Phil Belanger wouldn't speak specifically on the impact of CETA, but says it's important Canadians know what local options are out there.
"There are the local ones that are produced here on the Island. There's some fantastic cheese made in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, even in Newfoundland now," he said.
Last October Harper said the government will provide compensation to Canadian cheese producers to address any adverse effects.
Cheese maker Jeff McCourt said he'll believe that when he sees it.