Protesting husbandmen urged Wallonia’s legislators to vote against Canada’s trade rcel out with Europe.
Tractors were rked outside the regional legislature in Namur, Belgium, the day the no tickets were cast.
Then came Thursday’s declaration to save the grapple with. Again, a nod to the grumpy farmers.
«Safeguards» would be provided, it said, if an as yet undefined «store imbalance» emerged as a result of Canadian imports.
But do Belgium’s livestock agriculturists really have a legitimate beef?
«There’s absolutely no way I think that we could at any point affect either the price or the quantity over there,» said Ron Davidson, the manager for international trade, government and media relations at the Canadian Meat Convocation.
Canadian meat products have been all but shut out of the European marketplace for a handful decades now, thanks to the common market’s strategy of looking after its own.
It’s accurate that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, called CETA for shortened, secured market access gains for Canadian beef and pork. This win for Canada’s export-oriented agriculture sector was heralded as one of the attend to’s triumphs by the previous Conservative government.
Over six years, Canada’s annual allowance for beef shipped to Europe will rise gradually from 15,000 tonnes to 65,000 tonnes annually. For pork, the interest rises from 6,000 to 75,000 tonnes, again with a six-year phase-in aeon.
But annual consumption of beef across the European Union is over seven million tonnes. Canada’s new portion, eventually, is less than one per cent of that. For pork it’s even smaller: less than 0.4 per cent of sum up European consumption.
«It just doesn’t make any sense to me how it could if possible be an issue for the European market,» Davidson said.
Additionally — and here’s the kicker, as Davidson sees it — European livestock farmers who want to export to Canada have tariff-free, quota-free market access from Day 1.
«It’s not assessed,» he said. «I find it quite amazing that they’re complaining anent it.»
Protesting farmers in Wallonia said their average farm assay was about 50 hectares, while in Canada it’s over 300 hectares.
Foreign of the supply-managed dairy, egg and poultry sectors, Canadian agriculture is more focused on heightening abroad.
But Walloons have nothing to fear, he said.
«If they’re exhibiting a lot of domestic product there, there’s not going to be a domestic demand for it,» he turned, suggesting Canadian beef or pork would end up in rts of Europe without a overbearingly domestic industry, or as premium products in high-end restaurants.
«They’re not the same going to know it’s coming in, it’s so small,» he said.
Declaration provides ‘securities’
The sign of an effective protest can be the degree to which it gets results.
On Thursday, a sector in the final declaration written by Belgium’s government leaders provided for unspecified «saves» that would be applied to ensure Belgium’s agriculture sector does not suffer from some kidney of as yet undefined «market imbalance» as a result of Canadian imports.
But Canada did not concur to renegotiate CETA’s market access quotas. So what are they talking close to here?
Canadian agriculture officials have speculated this may be corpus juris for compensation — something in the works here in Canada too for the dairy industry, as it concedes two per cent of Canada’s house-trained cheese market to new European imports.
An announcement on the details of that for husbandmen and dairy processors is expected to quickly follow the CETA signing, perchance as early as next week.
The declaration also specified that continuing regulations will continue to apply for things like genetically transformed organisms (GMO foods), including the EU’s precautionary principle, which says that if something can’t be authenticated safe, it won’t be allowed.
Certain crops common in North America may not be acknowledged in the European Union.
The Belgium declaration also touched on «geographic gauges» — like the name Feta, which is meant to apply only to cheese from Greece.
Faced with concerns from different countries, Greece included, the European Commission had already issued a seven- rt attestation on this issue, clarifying how regional trademarks were protected and enforced.
‘Hormone-free’ beef a be about
Then there’s the food safety debate.
Was Canada applying apply pressure on to lift beef hormone restrictions?
«We didn’t even ask for it,» Davidson said. «So the incident that they were talking about that shows to me, my gosh, they don’t understand the terms of their agreement, how good a deal they have.»
«Every speedily you read something you’re going to hear them saying they entertain safer product than we do. The reverse is true,» he said.
Davidson cites an benchmark of veterinary drugs approved for veal calves. At least 83 approved in Europe, he imagined, are prohibited by Health Canada because of fears about antibiotic-resistant viruses.
«Contrary to what you’re hearing they don’t have safer meat,» he rumoured.
Canada does some things differently. What he calls a «lengthy, slow, drawn-out process» to work out equivalent regulations continues for rtialities like the Canadian use of carcass washes to reduce E. coli contamination.
Im ssive if current Canadian herd sizes could provide the new volumes — which they can’t, yet — these talks haven’t finished in meanwhile for the provisional application of CETA.
«For us, the negotiations aren’t over,» he said. Without a decision, «we are not going to be able to take advantage of the beef [deal] six months from now. It’s legitimate not in the cards.»