Canada's Trudeau defends dairy system after Trump criticism

Nick Mcbride
April 21, 2017

With Donald Trump ramping up his anti-Canada trade rhetoric, Justin Trudeau says the United States - like other countries - subsidizes its dairy and agriculture industries by hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. It was Trudeau's first comment since Trump first attacked the Canadian dairy industry on Tuesday at an event in Wisconsin.

Trudeau told Bloomberg Television that the United States in fact ran a dairy surplus with Canada.

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

"Every country protects for good reason its agricultural industries".

"It's not Canada that's the challenge here", Trudeau said Thursday, saying the US has a large dairy trade surplus with Canada.

Trump said on Thursday that the United States will report in the next two weeks what it intends to do with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he has promised to renegotiate.

Trudeau's comments come two days after Trump promised USA dairy farmers he would intervene to restore exports of American milk to Canada. "Rules, regulations, different things have changed". He also said he saw an opportunity to engage with the U.S. President. "Rules, regulations, different things have changed, and our farmers in Wisconsin and NY state are being put out of business". "We're not going to overreact".

"How certain governors are speaking to certain constituencies on that, it's politics", Trudeau said.

Trudeau said one of the challenges in crafting policies to rein in soaring house prices is a "dearth of data", as was the case in Vancouver a year ago.

In fact, the two issues Trump raised Thursday - Canada's supply management system for dairy production and the longstanding debate over the way Canada manages its softwood lumber supply - are not included in the NAFTA agreement.

Other reports by VgToday

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