NewsAlert: Strident Trump targets Canadian trade on energy, lumber, dairy

Owen Stevens
April 21, 2017

Dairy farmers in New Brunswick and the rest of the country are rejecting U.S. President Donald Trump's claims the Canadian dairy industry is to blame for setbacks experienced by dairy farmers south of the border, particularly in NY and Wisconsin.

Trump also took the opportunity to slam NAFTA, the free trade deal linking the US, Mexico and Canada, calling it a "disaster for our country".

Canada's ambassador to Washington says President Donald Trump is wrong when he says Canada's trade practices in the dairy industry are "very unfair".

The U.S. dairy industry has complained that the ultra-filtered milk policy, as well as Canada's dairy supply management controls as a whole, are contrary to free-market principles and don't let U.S. farmers compete fairly. Canada does not accept the contention that Canada's dairy policies are the cause of financial loss for dairy farmers in the United States.

It has no plans to change course, no matter how hard the USA president tries to rock the boat.

"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.

However, last spring Canadian milk producers came to a new agreement to price milk proteins, used for the same things as diafiltered milk, at a lower price.

Canada's Ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, addressed the issue in a letter addressed to the governors of NY and Wisconsin on Tuesday.

Ashlee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, who hails from Janesville, said Tuesday that Ryan's office is talking with Wisconsin farmers and dairy groups about options.

Trump delivered his strongest-ever broadside at America's northern neighbour, piling atop his complaints earlier in the week about Canadian dairy and adding fresh gripes for good measure - this time about energy and lumber. "We're going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly". "It's a disgrace", he said.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Liberals will "always defend Canada's interests".

System spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said the system has a long history of collaborating with Wisconsin's dairy industry and UW researchers continue to "generate innovative solutions to help grow and protect the milk industry in our state. we look forward to this partnership".

"Canada didn't like US farmers supplying their processors" demand for milk proteins, so they changed the rules of the game.

"As politicians we're very much trained to say something and stick with it". "We can't wait and make this part of a long NAFTA negotiation".

Dykstra said the USA has increased its dairy exports to Canada by 17 per cent over the last few years.

Other reports by VgToday

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