BY Alan Bjerga |08/20/15 12:00 AM EDT| Source: Bloomberg
On paper, it’s not a fair fight: a dozen nations representing 40 percent of the world’s economic output versus 12,000 Canadian dairy farms.
But Canada’s dairies are protected by some of the world’s most restrictive agricultural trade barriers, which helped to stall talks last month just as negotiators were closing in on a trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Other nations are pressing Canada to open its dairy market in the accord, a top priority of U.S. President Barack Obama. Agricultural issues, along with auto imports and drug patents, have emerged as one of the thorniest areas of disagreement holding up the pact.
“This is a social question about the quality of life, for us and for the animals,” said Real Gauthier, as he walked through a barn housing 90 cows on a farm 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Montreal in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec.
Canadians take pride in contrasting their family dairy farms with mega milking-operations in the U.S., even as they pay an average of 23 percent more for milk. Put in place in the 1970’s, the “supply management” system limits production and imports.
Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-20/canada-puts-global-trade-deal-at-risk-to-defend-family-dairies