QUÉBEC CITY, Oct. 17, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Laurent Lessard, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, was in Washington last October 13 and 14 within the framework of the fourth round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations. Even before the American positions were presented, Minister Lessard pointed out that Québec continues to exert leadership in promoting supply management during negotiations.
This mission was an opportunity for the Minister to reiterate the importance of supply management and to make various interlocutors aware of the issues and worries that these negotiations raise for Québec farmers and other Québec agri-food sector players. These speakers included:
- Mr. Raymond Bachand, Chief Negotiator for Québec
- Mr. Frederic Seppey, Chief Agriculture Negotiator for Canada
- Ms. Kirsten Hillman, Deputy Ambassador to the United States in Washington
"We will not tolerate any attempt to tear apart the supply management model and I will continue to speak for Quebecers to ensure that our agricultural model is maintained. Supply management must remain. This system no longer has anything to prove in terms of producers' income stability and reliable supply for consumers."
Laurent Lessard, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
- Supply management means nearly 7,000 agri-businesses across Québec, namely, 5,473 diary farms, 1,019 chicken farms, 257 turkey farms, 130 table egg producers and 36 hatching egg producers.
- Supply-managed commodities account for 38% of Québec farm market receipts ($3.2 billion). The dairy sector is the biggest ($2.2 billion), followed by chicken ($652.7 million), eggs ($180.6 million) and turkeys (87.5 million.
- Québec is Canada's main milk producer and is second for poultry and eggs.
- Since NAFTA came into force in 1994, it has proved beneficial not only for Canadian businesses, but also for American and Mexican companies.
- Canada is one of the main markets for American agri-food exports. The value of exports bound for the Canadian market is in the vicinity of $25.2 billion, that is, nearly 17% of American agri-food exports.
- On October 10, more than 300 American boards of trade sent President Donald Trump a letter outlining the benefits of NAFTA and urging him to maintain the Agreement.
- On September 24, in an open letter published in the Wall Street Journal, Thomas J. Donohue, the Chair and CEO of the United States Chamber of Commerce, argued that leaving NAFTA would be catastrophic on the economic, political and national security fronts.
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