ibusinesslines.com March 19, 2018

'A disgrace': Trump takes fresh aim at Canada's dairy, lumber and energy

27 April 2017, 03:54 | Erica Roy

"I want to end and add by saying that Canada, what they've done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace".

"It's concerning when the president of your major trading partner is concerned that you've done something that's wrong - something that's unfair", Leyenhorst said.

The U.S. president took aim at Canada's dairy industry this week for creating a new lower-priced classification of milk product that he argues hurts U.S. producers.

As Donald Trump added softwood lumber to his anti-Canada trade rhetoric Thursday, Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne was on his way to China with an entourage of industry representatives looking for an alternative to the US market.

Canada and the United States are embroiled in a long-standing trade dispute over exports of Canadian softwood lumber, which US producers complain are unfairly subsidized.

Trump later announced that "we're going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly...this is another NAFTA disaster, and we're not going to let it continue onward".

Canada's dairy farmers agreed past year to sell milk ingredients used for cheese-making to Canadian processors, which include Saputo Inc and Parmalat Canada Inc at prices competitive with worldwide rates. "It's a disgrace", Trump said in the Oval Office, without elaborating on what he meant. "The Americans and other countries choose to subsidize to the tune of hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, their agricultural industries including their dairy". "Let's not pretend we're in a global free market when it comes to agriculture".

Other voices in Canadian agriculture are not so willing to facilitate change. During the election, Trump repeatedly attacked NAFTA, but always did so in reference to the USA relationship with Mexico.

Dairy policy aside, Wolf says the current USA administration is "absolutely determined to be protectionist and that is bad news for Canada and the world".

"I feel our country really gets that this is a critical moment".

How much leverage does Canada have in renegotiating a trade deal with the U.S.?

Canada protects its dairy sector by putting high tariffs on imported products in order to keep prices high for its farmers.

On Wednesday, the Department of Commerce also gave notification that it would postpone a planned decision on whether or not to impose anti-dumping duties on some Canadian softwood lumber products, which it has been investigating since December of previous year. Lumber was excluded from NAFTA and its predecessor, the Canada-U.S.

He also threatened to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement if no action is taken to correct the problem.

Trump's decision to single out Energy seemed unusual, however. He also said he saw an opportunity to engage with the U.S. President.

Why did Donald Trump attack the Canadian dairy industry?

Trump's verbal shot followed meetings with 75 Wisconsin dairy farmers who were told by their processor Grassland dairy that their milk wasn't needed anymore. "It's the job of politicians to respond to some of the unhappiness of their constituents".

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