Goderich Meeting Focuses On International Trade Deals

The Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of International Trade says the Canada Europe Trade Agreement does nothing to undermine the supply management system.

MP David Lametti spoke to about 40 people at a meeting organized by the Huron Bruce Federal Liberal Association in Goderich on the weekend.

Lametti says some limited market access has been allowed in Canada, and a $350-million transition program has been created for dairy farmers.

He adds pork and beef producers will have limited access to sell in Europe, but that is a huge benefit considering the massive size of the European market.

Lametti says the government will continue to create programs to overcome barriers, such as different standards for meat processing. He says the free trade deal with Europe could be a boon for Canadian food exports.

“People love Canadian agri-food products…they love Canadian brand precisely because they know it is safe, they know it’s high quality, they know the standards in which the animals have been raised and the crops have been grown are the highest in the world.

The CETA deal, which is now before Parliament, could be in force within six months

He also told audience members that the government is hearing concerns that trade agreements can favour big international companies over ordinary people.

He says in CETA they want to change the investor-state dispute settlement system to make a more transparent, court-like system

Under such a system, the state would appoint the arbitrators to avoid undue influence by industry.

Lametti told residents questioning the future of NAFTA that it is normal for trade relationships to evolve over time. He says the deal has already been tweaked over ten times, and if Canada has to sit down and modernize the deal, they will ensure Canadian interests are protected.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to tear up NAFTA

Lametti does concede that if Trump refuses to go forward with the Trans Pacific Partnership, that could kill the agreement.

But in that event, Canada could well pursue trade agreements with some of the key players that had signed on to the TPP, most important among them being Japan.