Trump wins support for possible WTO action on Canada dairy


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.

Prior to Ontario's motion, Grassland Dairy Products in Wisconsin sent more than one million pounds of ultra-filtered milk, a protein liquid concentrate used in cheese, across the border daily and duty-free.

Trump said on Thursday that the United States will report in the next two weeks what it intends to do with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he has promised to renegotiate. "We can't let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers".

But he said changing trade agreements takes years - time Wisconsin dairy producers don't have as they scramble to find new buyers for excess milk.

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"(We) are not fazed by it", one such insider said Thursday.

If the US does try to negotiate more access to the Canadian market it would be another blow to a way of life already under siege.

Trump went on to suggest similar things are happening along the "northern border states with Canada, having to do with lumber and timber". The tariff prices US milk out of the Canadian market.

Trump was echoing and amplifying the complaints of Wisconsin and NY governors, who say Canada's decision to create a new lower-priced, classification of milk product has frozen USA producers out of the Canadian market.

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On energy, Canada provides the USA more than one-third of its oil imports - and does so under a stable, locked-in ratio guaranteed in NAFTA.

Canada has also fiercely protected its dairy industry in recent trade deals, from the Trans-Pacific Partnership to Ceta, the Canada-European Union deal.

"He pledged to find a solution for the dispute, saying he will insist on "... a level playing field with all of our trading partners, including Canada".

It has no plans to change course, no matter how hard the US president tries to rock the boat. On the contrary, David MacNaughton claims that Canada doesn't have any protection policy towards the Dairy farmers and has made every attempt to keep them out of the USA market by adding many technical barriers.

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That prompted the Canadian ambassador to the United States, David McNaughton, to respond in a letter to the two governors this week. Despite the strong words, MacNaughton is downplaying any talk of growing trade irritants with the United States.