Malpeque MP Wayne Easter has some advice for U.S. President Donald Trump over remarks claiming unfair dairy trade practices between Canada and the U.S. and the affects on the American dairy industry’s revenue and jobs.
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.
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.
Trudeau is anxious about Trump’s protectionist talk and has repeatedly sent his ministers to the U.S.to talk about the importance of the trade relationship. Canada has adopted dairy pricing rules that favor domestic production of ultra-filtered milk, which is used to make cheese.
It had been duty-free but Canada changed course after its milk producers complained. Indeed, they came at the end of a longer statement, when he said, “I wasn’t going to do this”, before launching into a pointed complaint that echoed sentiments he heard this week about dairy in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin, like NY, is a top dairy producing state. The governor recently joined Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in writing a letter to President Donald J. Trump asking him to take action against Canada for its dairy pricing program, which limits the amount of dairy products exported across the northern border.
But after dairy farmers in Canada’s largest province of Ontario complained about competing with lower USA prices for the milk product, the Ontario government changed the rules to allow local processors to purchase ultra-filtered milk from Canadian farms at competitive world prices rather than import the milk protein isolates from the United States.
Mr MacNaughton instead laid the blame at the feet of “US and global overproduction” and the hard “global situation” of low world dairy prices, which is a problem faced by farmers on both sides of the border.
It had previously been duty-free, but the Canadian government levied the tax after dairy farmers north of the border complained about USA imports.
“Canada’s effort to shift the focus away from the internal problems their milk pricing system is disingenuous at best”.
“Let’s not pretend we’re in a global free market when it comes to agriculture”, he said. “What’s happened to you is very, very unfair”.
“We’re also going to stand up for our dairy farmers”, Trump said in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “And we’re going to start working on that”.
Trump made his most critical comments yet about Canadian trade earlier in the day. “The whole thing is ridiculous”.
“The fact of the matter is, is that we’re already accepting way more dairy products into Canada than Canada is exporting into the states”.
“The U.S. has a $400 million dairy surplus with Canada so it’s not Canada that’s the challenge here”, he said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“So the Americans are not suffering from the current terms of NAFTA and existing trade agreements”.