Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Science | By Kerry Wheeler

Canada's dairy measures a 'disgrace'

Canada's dairy measures a 'disgrace'

Canada regulates milk prices in a much more aggressive fashion than the USA government does, but the Canadian government had not lowered the price of Canadian-made ultra-filtered milk until recently.

Dumontier says it's ironic Trump is calling Canada protectionist when it comes to dairy, noting the USA system of subsidizing farmers has created a market that's even more protectionist.

US dairy farmers contend that the new Canadian policy, first rolled out at the provincial level previous year but soon set to go national, drops the price of that Canadian product to the point where USA producers can no longer make money selling it north of the border.

U.S. President Donald Trump has delivered his most sweeping broadside at Canada, blasting the northern neighbour for trade practices he says must be corrected in three areas: energy, lumber, and dairy. "He went to Wisconsin, where it was in the news last week that one processor in Wisconsin lost a contract with a Canadian processor to produce diafiltered milk, which is a product that is specifically created to be exported to Canada", he says. Trump promised to work with Wisconsin's congressional delegation to get a solution after the governors of Wisconsin and NY urged him to take action.

The latest salvo came in a letter from David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the United States, to Gov. Scott Walker and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "We can't let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers". As a result, many of them may be forced out of business. "And we're going to start working on that".

Canada's supply management system works well, Dumontier says, keeping prices and supply stable without the need for subsidies. "When we renegotiate NAFTA, an agreement I opposed, we should make topic #1 enforcing existing trade commitments‎ to reverse these restrictive dairy pricing policies".

He said the trade balance on dairy "massively" favours the U.S.by a five-to-one margin.

Leaders from both nations say they would support President Donald Trump if he included the WTO in a trade dispute over a milk pricing scheme by Canada that is harming US dairy farmers. It said the US has "raised serious concerns with Class 7".

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But dairy industry leaders in Australia and New Zealand said on Wednesday they would support any move by the United States to draw the WTO into the trade dispute. "NAFTA has been very, very bad for our country", Trump said. The United States is Canada's largest trading partner.

Minutes later came the now-familiar sight of Trump in the Oval Office, followed by a pointed attack on Canadian trade practices and the impact on USA interests. "We can all agree that, it is critical to level the playing field for our hard-working dairy farmers and make sure our Canadian neighbors rescind their unfair policy and again play by the rules".

"Canada...what they've done to our dairy farm workers, it's a disgrace", Trump told reporters at the Oval Office Thursday as he announced that his administration will investigate steel imports as part of his "Buy American-Hire American" plan.

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.

But Canadian agriculture leaders say they have a right to enact domestic-minded policies, especially as USA farmers flood worldwide markets with excess milk.

Next week will present another test in the U.S.

MacNaughton writes that the Canada dairy industry is less protectionist than that of the U.S, which he says has employed technical barriers to keep Canadian dairy out of the US market.

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