October 12, 2018 8:22 pm

New NAFTA won’t impact Chinese milk manufacturing plant: Kingston Economic Development

Will Kingston's quarter-billion-dollar baby formula be hurt by proposed trade deal?

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Kingston’s quarter-billion-dollar Chinese manufacturing plant isn’t even open yet but there are questions surrounding how it could be impacted by the new trade deal. There are reports the revised NAFTA agreement will impose new quotas on the amount of baby formula that Canada can export.

On Friday, officials with the organization that helped bring the company to town talked about the potential impact.

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“Feihe Canada Royal Milk is alive and well,” said Donna Gillespie, the CEO of Kingston Economic Development. “The immediate plans for Feihe will not be impacted, construction will continue, recruitment will begin within the next two weeks and we don’t see an impact on the original proposal of jobs and investment.”

READ MORE: China says USMCA deal will prevent Canada from free trade with Beijing

The response came after an online report that the proposed trade deal concessions would harm jobs in Kingston.

Another issue now coming to light is the federal government’s involvement when it came to the deal. Gillespie says the negotiators reached out to her office to be aware of considerations and where impacts could be lessened.

“The fact that it’s a goat-to-milk operation instead of a dairy milk operation, the way that the numbers have been structured into the agreement should not have an impact on Feihe’s ability to continue to build and operate its facility in the Kingston area,” said Mark Gerretsen, the Member of Parliament for Kingston and The Islands.

READ MORE: Who are the USMCA trade deal winners and losers?

When contacted by CKWS, Feihe officials said, “they’re looking at the agreement and have no comment at this time.”

Gillespie says construction of the plant is on schedule and maybe even ahead of schedule.

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