WASHINGTON — A Conservative senator says Canada’s dairy processing industry stands to lose about $100 million if the new trade agreement with the United States and Mexico goes into effect July 1.
Sen. Don Plett, the Opposition leader in the Senate, says Conservatives in the upper chamber agreed to fast-track implementing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement only after the federal government promised it wouldn’t take effect until August.
But U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer served notice late last week that all three countries had now completed their necessary domestic work, clearing the way for the agreement to become the law of the land on Canada Day.
Federal officials, however, are disputing Plett’s assertion that the government promised an Aug. 1 implementation date.
In a statement obtained by The Canadian Press, Plett calls the change in timing — particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic — a betrayal of the Canadian dairy industry, which is already giving up 3.6 per cent of its domestic markets to imports under the terms of the deal.
He also suggests Canada was forced to make concessions to the U.S. as a result of what he calls the federal Liberal government’s “strained relationship” with President Donald Trump’s administration.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2020.
The Canadian Press