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Trump signals out need to fight Canadian dairy policies

21 April 2017, 12:01 | Winifred Adams

"In Canada, some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers and we're going to start working on that ... it's another typical one-sided deal against the United States".

Trump also criticized the US trading regime, which calls for a waiting period, and consultations that can stretch to three months or beyond. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., in a letter released Thursday urging the Trump Administration to act on restrictive Canadian trade barriers that are hindering the development and growth of the dairy industry. It dramatically cut the prices on ultra-filtered milk in Canada.

"Dairy is a very small part of the total trade with Canada, there's an terrible lot more that happens even within agriculture than just dairy", said Mark Stephenson, director of Dairy Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The senators' letter further details that the action is leaving farmers with hard decisions about the future of their farms. Dairy farmers in the US complain it's a new tariff that closes the Canadian market to them. He also wrote that "technical barriers" make the US more protectionist than Canada, and his nation isn't a cause of the global oversupply that has hurt American farmers. "We're more the mouse", says Bernie Wolf, a professor economics and worldwide business at York University.

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".

Trump said he's focusing on Canada's management system that protects the dairy industry.

"Canada must be clearly and swiftly reminded in a concrete way that dependable trading conditions between our two countries are critically important", the senators wrote.

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Dick Kimball, Chautauqua County Farm Bureau president, said Canada's actions won't impact local milk. Canadians have rebuked those claims, arguing the USA produces too much milk in a global market already saturated with it.

"There's a national surplus". "It works really well, it provides a stable supply of milk, it supplies us with a stable income".

USA prominence in the steel industry has been slipping for decades, and Mr. Trump is making some efforts to shore up the industry.

The U.S.is debating the idea of a border tax that could hurt certain imported products - including Canadian oil, which is a leading source of America's energy supply.

"I will say that we strongly support not only the system, which is supply management, but the people that live out of agriculture in our country, because we believe - I believe - that the family-sized farm deserves to be defended", said Couillard. "That will dictate how quickly negotiations go", said.

"It (the US administration) either doesn't know or has forgotten what happened in 1930 when the USA became isolationist with the Smoot-Hawley Tariff which put up tariff barriers greatly".

More than 70 dairy producers in both Wisconsin and NY are affected.



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