PEI

P.E.I. has 'what the world wants,' says international trade minister

Jim Carr, federal minister responsible for international trade, met with a number of people in the agriculture and dairy industries on P.E.I. on Tuesday

'P.E.I. potatoes and clams and mussels and lobster are in demand'

Jim Carr, federal minister responsible for international trade, was trackside at Red Shores in Charlottetown at Old Home Week on Tuesday night along with MPs Wayne Easter and Sean Casey. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Jim Carr, federal minister responsible for international trade, met with a number of people in the agriculture and dairy industries on P.E.I. on Tuesday.

Carr met with companies including Cows, ADL and Monaghan Farms and spoke about how the Island is producing "what the world wants."

"P.E.I. potatoes and clams and mussels and lobster are in demand throughout the world," he said.

He said he spoke to companies about dairy and ice cream and "those products that are part of a Canadian brand."

Carr said he had a chance to talk and meet with people to get an idea of what concerns they have about trade, including the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement on trade.

Trade tensions

That deal would allow American farmers access to 3.59 per cent of Canada's supply-managed dairy products market, and has raised concerns among dairy farmers on the Island.

"We know there are serious conversations going on now between the government of Canada and the dairy industry and that when you sign trade agreements sometimes the benefits are not even, among sectors," Carr said.

Carr noted the federal government has pledged compensation for affected farmers. 

The 2019 federal budget included a pledge of $3.9 billion for an income-protection program for sectors including dairy, along with a measure to protect the value of farmers' quota investments.

"We're confident that P.E.I. and dairy producers throughout Canada will be able to be competitive on the world markets and that they will be treated fairly by the government of Canada," he said.

Carr said farmers told him they were worried of "accumulated consequences" of trade agreements, but he said at the same time trade agreements create opportunity.

"Overall free trade is good for our country and these industries are very much a part of that," he said.

There are three federal minister on P.E.I. on Wednesday.

"I think it is just a coincidence that several of us are here at the same time," Carr said.

The federal election is scheduled to take place on Oct. 21.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Steve Bruce

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