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'A disgrace': Trump takes fresh aim at Canada's dairy, lumber, energy

21 April 2017, 01:50 | Melvin Schneider

President Donald Trump unexpectedly called out Canada on Thursday over the impact of their agricultural policy on American farmers.

The Canadian government, Ellis said, took a targeted approach to eliminate imports of ultra-filtered milk by changing its dairy policy and milk pricing system.

But in this particular case, he said the US dairy industry is off base because ultra-filtered milk is not part of Canada's supply management regime, and was created after NAFTA, which has allowed it to flow into Canada from the USA duty free. Critics often point to Canada's supply management system, which they decry as nothing more than a protectionist barrier.

Trade lawyer Lawrence Herman is no fan of supply management.

"As politicians we're very much trained to say something and stick with it", Trudeau said in a televised interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. What's this system that everyone keeps getting so upset about?

But critics argue it hasn't worked.

And Mr. Trudeau should remind Mr. Trump that these American statistics are not "alternative facts".

Kevin Ellis knew his company, Cayuga Milk Ingredients in Aurelius, would take a hit when Canada implemented its new dairy pricing policy related to ultra-filtered milk. Because it's considered a milk ingredient, it's not subject to the same tariffs as milk.

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"I'm getting more nervous because the plants are all full and they say they have nowhere for the milk to go", she said. "It's specifically designed for our market". Decisions are also expected in the coming weeks on duties on Canadian lumber, another instalment of a once-a-decade feud between Canadian and American lumber producers.

Canada Wood, an industry trade group, said earlier this month it would "take the first steps to extend its reach to Wuhan, which is the economic engine of central China", by establishing a joint Sino-Canadian Modern Wood Construction Technology Center in the little-known Chinese city of more than 10 million. "There has been no change in regulation".

Luis Ribera, an agriculture economics expert at Texas A&M University, said that while the ultra-filtered milk issue may technically fall outside the scope of NAFTA, it is a sign of US anger towards Canada's supply management system.

Trump's commitment came Tuesday after Grassland Dairy Products dropped dozens of Wisconsin farmers after losing sales to Canada. Canada changed its policy on pricing domestic milk to cover more dairy ingredients, leading to lower prices for Canadian products including ultra-filtered milk that compete with the US product.

"We're running at full capacity", he said.

Trump also lobbed criticism at Canada for what he characterized as unfair trading practices in the lumber and energy sectors. "It's a disgrace", he said.

McCart of the Farmers' Association agrees. "I think it will be on the table".



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