Canada pushes back against Trump attack on Canadian dairy industry

Owen Stevens
April 21, 2017

Trump repeated his desire to alter rules that govern the more than $1 billion in cross-border trade that passes between the US and Canada every day.

Trump levelled the threats - some of his strongest-ever anti-Canadian rhetoric - during an event at a Wisconsin factory where he unveiled his "Buy American-Hire American" executive order.

The surprise tongue-lashing represents some of the new administration strongest anti-Canada rhetoric thus far, and a significant departure from the relatively warm reception Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received on his first meeting with Trump in the US capitol.

A letter from MacNaughton rebutting American criticism of Canada's trade practices in the dairy industry was released Tuesday.

"The national ingredient strategy is industry-driven and was developed between dairy producers and processors", he said.

The President noted that he "spent time with some of the farmers in Wisconsin - and as you know, rules, regulations, different things, have changed; and our farmers in Wisconsin and New York State are being put out of business - our dairy farmers". Walker and Wisconsin's congressional delegation, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, to find a solution to the trade dispute.

A 1960s trade law gives the president authority to restrict imports if they are determined to be harmful to USA security interests.

Canada's dairy sector is protected by high tariffs on imported products and controls on domestic production as a means of supporting prices that farmers receive.

"Together with other dairy exporting countries, including the USA, we have questioned these policies at WTO Committee on Agriculture meetings in Geneva as recently as last month", McClay said.

According to the Belgium-based World Steel Association, American-made steel once accounted for roughly 20 percent of global production, but had slipped to less than 5 percent by 2015.

He said his administration would be "reporting back sometime over the next two weeks" as to how it plans to reform the trade deal.

Trudeau said the system, known as supply management, "works very well" in Canada.

A similar policy is being adopted across Canada, which prompted the governors of NY and Wisconsin, two major dairy-producing states, to ask Trump to take action.

"As a producer working under a system that's fair to both us and the consumer, his comments are concerning, sure", Amy Matheson, a dairy farmer from Oxford County, told "We're going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly".

The source MacNaughton cited in making his case: the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"The whole thing is ridiculous".

Canada has regularly said it's willing to renegotiate NAFTA and that certain parts of the pact could use an update. "It's been very, very bad for our companies and our workers, and we're going to make some very big changes or we are going to get rid of NAFTA for once and for all". The spat was spurred by a new Canadian milk policy that USA producers say violates NAFTA and comes at a sensitive time for U.S.

Currently, American farmers are sending their ultra-filtered milk north of the border without being subject to tariffs, due to NAFTA which was approved in 1994.

Other reports by VgToday

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