Published: Mon, April 24, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

Minnesota dairy farms affected by US-Canada trade dispute


Canada's envoy to Washington has shot back at criticism by President Donald Trump and USA milk producers, saying the facts don't support a charge that the Canadian dairy industry is to blame for the woes of some American farmers.

U.S. President Donald Trump is taking aim at Canada's dairy industry once again, saying that the U.S. can't let Ottawa "take advantage" of the two countries' trade relationship.

"The facts do not bear this out".

"What they've done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace", Trump said Thursday.

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 president's comments have led many observers to speculate that dairy - and Canada's system of supply management - could be a target as the US considers a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The claims echo sentiments Mr Trump expressed this week in Wisconsin, addressing employees of Snap-on Tools at a signing for the "Buy American and Hire American" Executive order.

Canada, one of the U.S.'s top trading partners, has imposed an import tax on ultra-filtered milk, a product used in the cheese-making process. It had been duty-free but Canada changed course after its milk producers complained.

Canada's ambassador to Washington fired back, saying the facts don't support a charge that the Canadian dairy industry is to blame for the woes of some American farmers.

About 70 dairy producers in both Wisconsin and NY are affected by the decision.

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Schumer said he and Trump agreed to work with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on the issue along with Wisconsin Sen.

US dairy groups appealed to Trump for help after Canada recently introduced a new policy that gives Canadian producers an incentive to buy domestic supplies of ultra-filtered milk, a concentrated ingredient used to boost protein content in cheese and yogurt.

"Any increase of trade barriers between our countries would significantly impact jobs in the United States, as well as 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. First they moved to block our exports and, even more problematic, their new pricing strategy is positioning them to further undercut global powder markets by dumping their surplus on the world market.

"Canada's effort to shift the focus away from the internal problems their milk pricing system is disingenuous at best".

But MacNaughton said there is too much at stake to let anything interfere with trade between the two countries.

"Our (Conservative) government always stood up for the farmers and we'll see if this effort by the (Liberal) government to. keep good relations with the Americans, whether it protects our farmers", added Brown.

"In Canada, what they've done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace".

Trump on Thursday included the lumber, timber and energy sectors in a list of what he said were problematic areas of trade with Canada, but did not give details.

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