Trans-Pacific Partnership worries dairy producers
Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations underway in Hawaii
Dairy producers on P.E.I. are concerned Canadian negotiators will cave in to pressure over milk quotas at trade talks in Hawaii.
Negotiators from 12 countries are in Hawaii this week working to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
Harold MacNevin, head of the Dairy Farmers of P.E.I., said Canada is being pressured by the U.S., Australia and New Zealand to open its borders to more milk imports. He said that could be bad news for P.E.I.'s 175 dairy farmers.
"Our biggest fear is that the U.S.'s surplus production is more than Canada's total production," said MacNevin.
"Any percentage of that production coming in to Canada is very devastating to us."
New Zealand is also a potential threat. The country has one of the lowest costs of dairy production in the world, partly because the cattle do not have to be housed in the winter, and can stay on open pasture all year.
New Zealand exports butter and skim milk powder, which are easy to ship.
Consumers may hope for cheaper dairy products out of a trade deal, but MacNevin said more open borders in Europe, Australia and New Zealand did not result in lower prices.
MacNevin hopes the TPP isn't a repeat of the European trade deal, where Canada agreed to more cheese imports in exchange for more exports of beef and pork products.
Representatives with the Dairy Farmers of Canada are at the negotiations in Hawaii, and have been sending daily updates back.