Minnesota dairy farms affected by US-Canada trade dispute

Baloney Meter: Do Canada's efforts to help dairy farmers hurt US counterparts?

The President echoed that sentiment Thursday: "We can't let Canada or anyone else take advantage of our workers or our farmers".

But Canada and the U.S. have been locked in a decades-long trade dispute over the wood, which could intensify next week when the U.S. Commerce Department is expected to announce whether it will impose a countervailing duty on Canadian softwood lumber imports. This week, he reiterated his desire to negotiate or eliminate NAFTA, the agreement forming a bilateral trade bloc between the US, Mexico, and Canada.

With the spotlight focused on Canadian markets lost to American dairy processors in recent weeks, dairy is shaping up to become a contentious issue in future trade talks.

"Dairy is a very small part of the total trade with Canada, there's an terrible lot more that happens even within agriculture than just dairy", said Mark Stephenson, director of Dairy Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

USA dairy groups appealed to Trump for help after Canada recently introduced a new policy that gives Canadian producers an incentive to buy domestic supplies of ultra-filtered milk, a concentrated ingredient used to boost protein content in cheese and yogurt.

Trudeau said his government has told the new US administration that Canada does not view the negotiations as a "zero-sum game" but that there are ways to improve NAFTA, which also includes Mexico, for everyone. Ron Johnson, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who also hails from Wisconsin, would contact the Canadian government to negotiate a solution.

"Wisconsin and NY dairy farmers are only the first victims of Canada's illicit dairy trade restrictions", the two governors wrote. "Canada is the second-largest export market for US dairy products, surpassed only by Mexico". During the election, Trump repeatedly attacked NAFTA, but always did so in reference to the US relationship with Mexico. "As made clear in the report, Canada is not a contributor to the overproduction problem".

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

"Canada, what they've done to our dairy farm workers, it's a disgrace", Trump said.

The work would start immediately, he added. "It's a new USA administration with some openly protectionist views, and I do feel we have a strong, Team Canada approach that is serving us well", Freeland said.

"We're going to get together and we're going to call Canada, and we're going to say, 'What happened?' And they might give us an answer, but we're going to get the solution, not just the answer, OK?"

François Dumontier, a spokesperson for Les Producteurs de lait du Québec, says that while Trump condemned the supply management system on Tuesday, he may have actually been talking about a separate issue. "You've got to watch how this whole thing evolves". They also asked Trump to direct US agencies to "examine a full range of tools that could be used immediately to impress upon Canada in a concrete way the importance of dependable, two-way trade".

"We're going to make some very big changes or we're going to get rid of NAFTA once and for all", he said.

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

He reiterated his belief that the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he has vowed to renegotiate, has been hurting the USA economy.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story.



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