ibusinesslines.com June 27, 2017

Canadian ambassador: President Trump is "wrong" about dairy poli

20 April 2017, 07:09 | Kelvin Horton

"Because in Canada some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers and others and we're going to start working on that with Ron [Johnson] and with Scott [Walker] and with Paul [Ryan] and with all of your representatives". During a stop in the Badger State on Tuesday, the president called Canada's actions "unfair" and promised to resolve the issue quickly.

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

The Trump administration has yet to give Congress a required 90-day notification that it plans to open negotiations on NAFTA with Canada and Mexico. "So we'll start those discussions. It's very important that the president listened to Wisconsin lawmakers".

After Trump publicly took up their cause on Tuesday, David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the USA, released a letter he sent to the governors of Wisconsin and NY rebutting that claim. He is defending his domestic dairy industry.

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.

Members of the Dairy Girl Network, a national all-women's group of about 4,200 dairy farmers, along with the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, were eager to assist and helped organized Friday's meeting in Beaver Dam.

Frank Behling, a dairy farmer from Randolph, said it was "good to hear" that Trump offered support. That said, there still do not appear to be any short-term solutions. "We're not doing anything illegal, but the Americans just have an axe to grind", said Herman.

"Mullins was the first company to step up", said Karen Gefvert, director of government relations at Wisconsin Farm Bureau. "So they're displacing the USA product that's coming into Canada", said von Massow.

Gefvert said Friday's meeting also helped to clarify information to dairy farmers.

"It is getting better but it isn't fast enough", she said.

Trump did not specify what parts of Canada's tariff-protected dairy sector he wanted to change, nor what measures he would take to make it happen, but his remarks re-ignited calls for a complaint to the World Trade Organization. Stable prices are set for farmers to correspond with their estimated production costs.

A spokeswoman for Canada's dairy industry said Tuesday night there has not been any new taxes on dairy imports. Ruiter hopes the President's talk was just that, talk, created to score political points in the dairy state.

Damsteegt said the real problem is the system the American dairy industry operates under.

"Time and again Canada has demonstrated its disregard of its dairy commitments to the United States - hampering America's exports to Canada - while pursuing ways to use its government-controlled system to unfairly dump greater Canadian exports in global markets".

When Trudeau visited the White House in February Trump praised the "outstanding" trade relationship between the United States and Canada, saying he would only be "tweaking" it going forward.

Relations with the US are crucial as more than 75 percent of Canada's exports go to the USA, while 18 percent of USA exports go to Canada.

Ruiter sees Trump's tough talk as an attack on Canada's milk supply management system.

"Wisconsin always has been a milk deficit state", she said. But that leaves farmers with excess protein, which is where ultra-filtered milk comes in.

The move by Canadian producers has cost USA farms upwards of US$150 million, according to a report from the Washington Post.

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