Canadian envoy downplaying talk of potential trade rift with the US

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Last week Trump received a letter from four U.S. dairy industry groups - the National Milk Producers Federation, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture - that accused Canada of violating its trade commitments to the U.S.

"The facts do not bear this out".

Canada's ambassador to the United States responded to claims made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that Canadian policies are hurting New York's dairy industry.

"U.S. exports of milk protein substances, including diafiltered milk to Canada, were USD$98 million in 2016, up from USD$33 million in 2011".

Governor Scott Walker is urging President Trump to address Canada's dairy trade restrictions. A big part of their problem, says von Massow, was that Canada was being flooded with duty-free American ultra-filtered milk because it was invented after the North American Free Trade Agreement, and therefore wasn't subject to duties.

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

The association representing Quebec's dairy farmers said it's confident the Canadian government will continue to protect the supply management system which, despite Trump's views, has seen American dairy exports surge since NAFTA came into force in 1993.

Trump referenced the issue during his speech yesterday in Kenosha.

Nevertheless, Canada deployed cabinet ministers, premiers and various trade officials to the U.S.to explain how beneficial NAFTA is for all countries involved-Canada, the US and Mexico.

The work would start immediately, he added, although he did not detail what that entails.

"When it comes to wasteful destructive job killing regulations, we are going to use a tool you know very well - it's called the sledgehammer", he said. "Our government supports Canada's supply management system, dairy farmers and the entire dairy industry".

It also harkens back to the US election campaign trail, when Trump regularly lashed out at specific industries, and even individual companies, and decried NAFTA as one of the worst deals ever made.

"Nobody was surprised with his statement, because he's always targeted certain areas and I don't believe it's the first time, if not him, members of his team, have mentioned the dairy industry in Canada", said the premier at an event in the Montreal-area riding of Gouin Tuesday night. And that means it will likely be on the table of any future NAFTA renegotiation. "However, saner heads may prevail because these three economies-Mexico, Canada and the US -are so intertwined in terms of the supply chain that it would be very, very costly to the U.S.to tear up NAFTA". "Let's keep it that way by working together, as we have done so often in our history, to make it even better".

"So the Americans are not suffering from the current terms of NAFTA and existing trade agreements", said Dumontier.

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