Trump Takes on Canadian Dairy Industry

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the world headquarters of Snap-On Inc, a tool manufacturer, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., April 18, 2017. -Canada trade dispute has spread to Minnesota, where officials say 19 dairy farms are affected.

"I'm sure we'll hear lots about dairy and we'll hear lots about other things and I'm sure there will be a lot of things that we will want to talk to them about, too", he said. "It's another typical one-sided deal against the United States and it's not going to be happening for long", he said.

He's probably referring to two separate but related issues.

Francois Dumontier, a spokesman for Les Producteurs de lait du Quebec, said imports of USA milk products have increased since 1993 and now account for three-quarters of milk products in Canada "so the Americans are not suffering from the current terms of NAFTA and existing trade agreements". On energy, the current NAFTA guarantees the USA a fixed rate of Canada's oil production without any import fees.

Under the supply management system, dairy farmers, as well as those who produce chicken, turkey and eggs, have quotas capping the amount they can produce.

Canada imposed import taxes on ultra-filtered milk, a protein liquid concentrate used to make cheese. But it's far from the first time Canadian milk has drawn American ire.

Canada, meanwhile, said the problem is not being caused by Canada's dairy-pricing policies, but instead stems from a global glut of dairy products. "Having trade disputes, I mean, we're always going to have little things where we have disagreements about".

Is Trump the only one talking about this?

Trump last week promised "pleasant surprises" from planned renegotiations of NAFTA, an agreement he's called the worst deal in USA history.

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"I've been reading about it, " Trump said this week in Wisconsin, which along with NY, is a state with a lot of hurting dairy farmers.

Trump said his order would minimize exemptions that allow foreign companies to bid on projects in the US, something Canada now enjoys under NAFTA.

"In Canada, supply management is literally about matching supply with demand, and for us that avoids over production and it reduces the impact of the devastating market fluctuations that we do see right around the world, including in the U.S." said Weins.

Gov. Scott Walker and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent a joint letter to Trump on Tuesday urging him to address Canada's dairy trade policies.

"Canada has not taken any broader actions to limit imports from the United States", the letter continues.

They say the Trump administration plans to take steps to protect the integrity of the USA steel industry.

Ontario is home to 3,834 dairy farms - a third of the Canadian total - as well as a third of the country's dairy processing plants. They could also affect the price and variety of dairy products on supermarket shelves.

Trump also lobbed criticism at Canada for what he characterized as unfair trading practices in the lumber and energy sectors.

Several provinces then lowered the price to make it more competitive, which led to fewer buyers for the American version in Canada.

Other reports by VgToday

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