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Alberta beef producers, farmers poised to benefit from trade deal with European Union

Alberta beef producers and farmers are applauding the approval of a landmark trade deal between Canada and the European Union.

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement was passed by European Parliament Wednesday

The Canadian Cattleman's Association says the trade deal with the EU has the potential to become a $600-million annual market for Canadian beef. (Canadian Press)

Alberta beef producers and farmers are applauding the approval of a landmark trade deal between Canada and the European Union. 

On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted to ratify the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Kevin Auch, chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission, says the trade deal will give Canada a large competitive advantage over the U.S. — Canada's biggest competition — because it will eliminate any tariffs imposed on Canadian production.

"We rely so heavily on export markets that any time we can secure these type of trade deals it's always good for Canadian farmers and wheat farmers in particular," he said.

The Canadian Cattleman's Association says the EU has the potential to become a $600-million market for Canadian beef annually, up from current levels of between $6 million to $10 million per year.

Lower dairy prices

However, not every agricultural sector stands to benefit from CETA. Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy from Dalhousie University, says Canadians will soon see lower prices at the dairy counter, which isn't good news for Canadian dairies.  

"Dairy is going to be hit somewhat by this influx of new products. Artisanal cheesemakers are going to be challenged by high-quality, low-price European cheese. They have to compete against that kind of product. It may actually set a new benchmark."

Canada's Parliament is expected to ratify the deal in the coming months.

With files from Allison Dempster

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