SaskMilk is calling the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) a “draw” for dairy farmers in Saskatchewan.
The deal reached Monday reduces or eliminates barriers on a staggering array of Canadian exports on everything from machines to canola, beef and pork, minerals, forestry products and seafood.
Other parts of the deal, such as the dairy sector, are controversial.
“We would have preferred no access or less access, but we understand something had to be done,” said Joy Smith, manager of policy and communications for SaskMilk.
“There are mitigation measures and there are things that are going to make this transition easier.”
The Saskatchewan dairy sector is small compared to other parts of Canada. It employs roughly 4,600 people and pumps an estimated $430 million into the provincial economy each year.
Smith said increasing the quota of foreign milk allowed into the country by 3.25 per cent will have an effect on the province’s 165 producers, but it’s too early to say how big the impact will be.
“We’re looking at milk displacement. If products are coming from outside of Canada, that milk will not be produced in Canada,” Smith said. “That 3.25 per cent will have to come out of future growth or existing production.”
On the upside, Smith said they are pleased border regulations and the milk requirement for cheeses are remaining intact. Removing the standard would be another hit for dairy producers as less milk would be required in producing cheeses.
The government said farmers will also be compensated for losses through a multi-billion-dollar series of programs.
“When the whole package is taken into consideration … we recognize our government fought hard against the other countries’ demands,” Smith said. “We’re also very pleased something is actually completed and the uncertainty is over and we know now what we’re looking at.”
The agreement still needs be ratified by the 12 member countries.