Supply Management for Livestock to End?

Article excerpt

On the way out, trade guru says

The supply-management systems protecting Canada's dairy and poultry industries will likely be dismantled within the next 10 to 15 years, a former federal trade negotiator predicted Friday.

Michael Hart, who worked as a federal trade negotiator from 1974 until 1995, said there's no place in an increasingly globalized trade environment for supply-management systems and other such protectionist measures.

While they guarantee Canadian producers a set price for their products and protect them from foreign competition, Hart said they also drive up the cost of imported dairy products such as cheese, as well as the price Canadian exporters must charge for the dairy and poultry products. That impedes Canada's efforts to pursue new export opportunities and boost foreign trade.

"We cut off our nose to spite our face with supply management," the Carleton University trade policy professor told delegates attending the University of Manitoba's 17th annual Fields on Wheels conference in Winnipeg.

"Over the next 10 to 15 years, we should see a transition out of these awful, awful policy decisions we made in the 1970s into a more open system."

Supply-management proponents argue it provides farmers with a fair return while supplying consumers with high-quality dairy and poultry products at fair prices. They also argue it hasn't prevented Canada from signing a free trade agreement with any country.

Hart said in an interview following his address the impetus for the government to begin phasing out supply-management systems will likely come from large, corporate-owned dairy and poultry operations that want to take advantage of new export opportunities. …