Australia, New Zealand back Trump on possible WTO action on Canada dairy

Cheryl Sanders
April 21, 2017

Parksville dairy farmer says Canadian industry is very healthy while President Donald Trump says regulations north of the border are unfair to American producers.

In a joint letter with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday urged Trump to "address Canada's protectionist dairy trade policies so that they honor their worldwide commitments under NAFTA and other trade agreements".

"Canada does not accept the contention that Canada's dairy policies are the cause of financial loss for dairy farmers in the United States", MacNaughton said.

A few years back, US dairy farmers began exporting high volumes of a new class of milk - diafiltered or ultra-filtered milk, used for making cheese - to Canada.

"Unfortunately, it appears that while USA processors were making multi-million dollar investments to meet the growing cross-border market for ultra-filtered milk, the Canadian dairy industry and government were plotting a trade war against our nation's dairy farmers", the governors wrote.

The US dairy industry says that agreement led to Wisconsin and NY companies losing millions of dollars in ultra-filtered milk exports due to a drop in demand for the ingredients from Canada.

The rhetoric Donald Trump directed at Canada's dairy industry this week has its roots in a new Canadian agriculture policy that predates his time in office, one that was the subject of a pointed letter from the US dairy lobby. Walker and Wisconsin's congressional delegation, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, to find a solution to the trade dispute.

"If Donald Trump adds a Buy American clause in the NAFTA renegotiation, it would be necessary to allow the creation of a Quebec equivalent", said the leader of the Bloc Québécois, Martine Ouellet.

Friction between NY and Canada - the state's largest global trade partner - created by "protectionist" milk policies north of the border isn't cooling down.

The U.S. president's tough talk on trade was coupled with the signing of a "Buy American-Hire American" executive order created to bolster protectionist U.S. procurement policies and limit the number of foreign workers coming into the country.

"Canada strongly believes in a rules-based system of trade, and therefore always abides by and upholds the rules that govern trade", Freeland said in a statement.

Trump continued by contending, "The fact is, NAFTA - whether it's Mexico or Canada - is a disaster for our country".

Trump called out Canada by name Tuesday amid a brewing trade spat that has seen the US dairy lobby accuse Canada of "systemic disregard" of its trade obligations.

The dairy sector and the wider agriculture industry are among the areas Trump targeted during a speech to factory workers in Wisconsin on Tuesday.

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

Estimates of how much of Canada's softwood lumber is shipped to the US are as high as 70 per cent, but the Trudeau government has placed a priority on finding new trade markets in Asia - especially China - for a variety of goods and services.

After meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he lauded the bilateral trade relationship, saying it required only tweaking.

Tuesday evening, Canada's ambassador to the US sent his own letter to Walker, calling for the governor "not to lay blame where it does not belong".

Other reports by iNewsToday