— Laurent Lessard (@Laurentplq) October 16, 2017
As part of the fourth round of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Laurent Lessard travelled to Washington to defend the interests of Quebec bio-food businesses. The Minister emphasized that Quebec continues to exercise its leadership in promoting supply management during negotiations. Mr. Lessard had the opportunity to discuss the industry issues raised by these negotiations in meetings with government officials and supporters. He also emphasized how, ever since NAFTA came into force in 1994, it has been beneficial not only for Canadian businesses, but also for American and Mexican businesses.
The Quebec government’s stance has always been clear on how it handles international trade agreement negotiations: maintaining the supply management system remains the biggest priority. This time-tested system gives producers income stability and consumers a reliable supply. I want to emphasize one thing: supply management is non-negotiable.
– Laurent Lessard, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
- Supply management affects 7,000 producers spread out across Quebec, i.e. 5,473 dairy farmers, 746 chicken farmers, 152 turkey producers, 130 table egg producers and 36 hatching egg producers.
- Produce under supply management is worth 38% of Quebec’s market farm income ($3.2 G). The dairy sector is first ($2.2 G), followed by the chicken ($652.7 M), egg ($180.6 M) and turkey ($87.5 M) sectors.
- Quebec is the main Canadian dairy producer and is second for poultry and eggs.
- Canada is one of the United States’ main bio-food export markets. Indeed, exports intended for Canadian markets amount to about $25.2 G, which is about 17% of American bio-food exports.
- Quebec imports $1.5 G worth of American bio-food products.
- Quebec’s total international bio-food exports add up to over $8.2 G. Of these exports, 71% are intended for the American market, with a $5.8 G value.
- On October 10, over 300 American chambers of commerce sent a letter to President Donald Trump emphasizing the benefits of NAFTA and requesting the Agreement be maintained.
- On September 24, in an open letter to the Wall Street Journal, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thomas J. Donohue argued that withdrawing from NAFTA would be an economic, political and national security disaster.