Health Care

Canadian policy 'very unfair' to American dairy? Not so fast, expert says

Canadian policy 'very unfair' to American dairy? Not so fast, expert says

The governors of Wisconsin and NY are urging President Donald Trump to address what they are calling Canada's "blatant violation of worldwide trade agreements" hurting dairy farmers in the two states. Trump's comments came shortly after he received a letter from Gov. Scott Walker and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who urged the president to take action after Canada's sudden change in dairy pricing policy resulted in almost 100 Wisconsin dairy farms being dropped from their suppliers.

Dozens of the state's dairy farms face being dropped by their milk buyer after new Canadian pricing put a dent in USA milk protein exports.

Last April, the Canadian province of Ontario implemented a new milk-pricing policy that imposes import taxes on ultra-filtered milk, a liquid protein concentrate used to make cheese. "Canada didn't like US farmers supplying their processors" demand for milk proteins, so they changed the rules of the game. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has blamed the Senate for delaying the confirmation of Trump's US trade representative.

"Together with other dairy exporting countries, including the USA, we have questioned these policies at WTO Committee on Agriculture meetings in Geneva as recently as last month", McClay said.

"This situation is not just a bilateral trade problem for the United States".

MacNaughton touted the more than $2 billion in trade that flows both ways across the border every day, adding that he does not expect issues with any single commodity to irreparably damage historically robust trade ties.

"There are irritants. There are always going to be irritants".

"If ever we feel that the Canadian government doesn't support it anymore, we will mobilize but we have no reasons at all to believe that would be the case at the moment", said spokesman Francois Dumontier.

"President Trump has had some pretty vocal and strong stances on things that he has walked back on, and, you know, I don't know if trade is going to be one of those as well".

"We're also going to stand up for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin", he told a group of supporters at Snap-on Tools.

Why does the US care so much about it?

Ultimately are Canadian dairy farmers afraid of what Donald Trump is saying?

After what has been a relatively warm beginning in relations with Canada, which included what was seen by many as a positive trip to Washington by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump dropped the gloves on Canada's well-guarded dairy sector.

Trump made the remarks while in the process of signing an executive order on USA steel.

Trump last week promised "pleasant surprises" from planned renegotiations of NAFTA, an agreement he's called the worst deal in US history.

"We are going to make some very big changes or we are going to get rid of NAFTA once and for all", he said. We have had concerns over the NAFTA renegotiation for a long time, "said Agriculture NDP spokesperson Ruth Ellen Brosseau. We can not continue like this, believe me".

"Obviously there is an election in Mexico next year which I think is hanging over all of this".

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, said unfair trade practices hurt hardworking individuals. They haven't been able to get the 90-days' notice to congress. On the other hand, US dairy lobby accused Canada by saying "systemic disregard" because of trade obligations and Canada industry accused USA saying "scapegoating".

"I'm getting more nervous because the plants are all full and they say they have nowhere for the milk to go", she said.

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