Canada’s trade deal with Europe will pump $600 million a year into the province’s cattle industry, making it a good news story for local ranchers, the president of the B.C. Cattleman’s Association said Friday.
“It’s big,” David Haywood-Farmer told The Daily News. “It’s just awesome that we’ve got the results we did.”
The news isn’t as rosy for the province’s cheese manufactures, as opening the market to Europe could hurt dairy producers.
Dave Eto, CEO of the B.C. Dairy Association, said the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement “sent some vibrations” through the industry Friday.
The agreement lets more European fine cheese into Canada, and that is cause for concern, he said.
For the province’s beleaguered cattle ranchers, the CETA is good news. Haywood-Farmer said a decade of woes caused by BSE and E. coli contamination hobbled the industry.
But the deal allows 64,000 tones of beef into Europe tariff-free a year. He said that equates to about $600 million for B.C. ranchers.
Previously, Europe allowed in 14,000 tones of North American beef a year with a 20-per-cent tariff.
“It’s always great when we see a positive export market like this open up,” said Haywood-Farmer. “It’s great to see a good news story because we’ve gone through 10 years or more of pretty tough sledding.”
Unlike the dairy industry, where the market is set in stone, the cattle industry rides a wave. Haywood-Farmer said the guaranteed European market — with its disposable income — will help ranchers weather a future crisis.
B.C.’s 14 cheese manufactures aren’t sure what the deal means for them, or how long it will take to introduce European cheeses into the local market. Eto said it’s too early to tell what financial impact this will have.
He encouraged consumers not to turn their back on the local product.
“They are an economy unto themselves,” said Eto. “I’m really hoping consumers in B.C. will see the value and continue to support them.”