Trump promises action to help dairy farmers

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"Canada does not accept the contention that Canada's dairy policies are the cause of financial loss for dairy farmers in the United States", Ambassador David MacNaughton said in a letter to the governors of Wisconsin and NY that was released Tuesday night in rebuttal to Trump's surprise criticism of Canada earlier in the day. "The facts do not bear this out", the letter began.

Speaking at an event in Wisconsin Tuesday, Trump said Canadian dairy farmers are in America's fair-trade sights.

"Dairy trade between Canada and the U.S.is important and the sectoral trade balance massively favours the US, at around 5 to 1", the letter said.

In a joint letter sent recently to Trump, the International Dairy Foods Assn., the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture urged the Administration to tell Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to halt the new pricing policy and restore imports of the blocked U.S. products, specifically ultra-filtered milk.

Schumer, D-N.Y., an opponent of the 1994 North American Free Trade Act, has suggested that Canada violated NAFTA in its policies to raise tariffs on some American milk products. "The Americans and other countries chose to subsidize to the tunes of hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, their agriculture industries, including their dairy".

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. Walker and Wisconsin's congressional delegation, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, to find a solution to the trade dispute.

"Americans are starting to realize more and more that Canada is pretty important to jobs in the US", he said.

MacNaughton added that Canada's dairy imports from the US rose to $83 million previous year, up 17 percent from 2015.

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Dairy farmers say they are confident that the government has their backs, but are concerned that any potential concessions on dairy in a renegotiated NAFTA could lead to significant job losses.

Trade groups for US dairy farmers have complained that a policy rolled out in Canada recently violates the trade agreement by creating incentives for Canadian processors to use local supplies. USA farm groups say that effectively blocks American dairy exports, exacerbating a glut of milk on the American side of the border.

Indeed, Canada's softwood industry makes no secret of its own search for opportunities in China.

"We hope they move quickly before we take retaliatory trade actions against them", Schumer said. And we have a supply management system that works very well here in Canada....

Trump also criticized the US trading regime, which calls for a waiting period, and consultations that can stretch to three months or beyond.

"The whole thing is ridiculous".

Trump continued by contending, "The fact is, NAFTA - whether it's Mexico or Canada - is a disaster for our country".

"Particularly when we're criticized about some of our policies, one needs to look at the degree to which the USA and other countries both subsidize their agricultural industry and put up non-tariff barriers.", he said.

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