Published: Mon, April 24, 2017
Local | By Dorothy Bennett

Canada minister they're looking forward to Trump trade talks


MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin and NY state officials have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take action to help dairy farmers in their states who've been hurt by Canada's decision to change policy in pricing its own milk.

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

The trade dispute began a year ago when Canada chose to impose import taxes on ultra-filtered milk, a liquid concentrate used to make cheese.

"Canada does not accept the contention that Canada's dairy policies are the cause of financial loss for dairy farmers in the United States", Ambassador David MacNaughton said in a letter to the governors of Wisconsin and NY that was released April 18 in rebuttal to Trump's surprise criticism of Canada earlier in the day.

At a speech to factory workers in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Trump criticized Canadian dairy regulations and supply management system, calling trade between the two countries a "one-sided deal" that doesn't allow US farmers to compete fairly.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau countered Thursday, contending all countries guard their agricultural industries for "good reasons". But as Trump talks about renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, some policy analysts aren't expecting immediate improvements to dairy exports.

"We are also going to stand up for our dairy farmers", Trump said Tuesday while discussing his "America First" policies in a speech in Wisconsin.

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The U.S. -Canadian dispute has spread to Minnesota, where officials say 19 dairy farms are affected, according to The Associated Press.

"Simply put, the USA, and for that matter, for the last of years, right around the world, there has been too much milk produced", he said."This oversupply in the U.S.is especially a challenge where there is a lack of processing capacity". There were allegations from Governors of Wisconsin and NY stating that the trade practices of Canada are responsible for the financial crisis faced by the farmers in the US.

But Easter noted that the USA has a lot invested in trade with Canada.

Canada's dairy farmers agreed past year to sell milk ingredients used for cheese-making to Canadian processors, which include Saputo Inc and Parmalat Canada Inc at prices competitive with global rates. "It's a disgrace", he said. "Our government supports Canada's supply management system, dairy farmers, and the entire Canadian dairy industry".

In any event, the US President's statement has caused concern among opposition parties in Ottawa.

And unfortunately, this will endure until the end of his reign at the White House and thus undermine this trade treaty which since 1994 brought Canada, the United States and Mexico together in a vast free trade area.

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