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Canada's Trudeau Defends Dairy System After Trump Criticism

21 April 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin and NY state officials have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take action to help dairy farmers in their states who've been hurt by Canada's decision to change policy in pricing its own milk.

At issue is a new pricing agreement struck last spring by Canada's dairy farmers and processors that industry groups in Australia, New Zealand, the European Union, Mexico and the United States say would price domestic milk ingredients, used for making cheese and yoghurt, below cost.

"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 New York Wisconsin.

Weins's support was echoed by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, which said Tuesday it believed the federal government would continue to "defend" the dairy industry.

He also widened his attack, saying, that "included in there is lumber, timber and energy".

It also harkens back to the USA 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.

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The claims echo sentiments Mr Trump expressed this week in Wisconsin, addressing employees of Snap-on Tools at a signing for the "Buy American and Hire American" Executive order.

"We're also going to stand up for our dairy farmers", Trump said in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Canadian dairy farmers are protected by import tariffs on dairy goods and strict production quotas that determine how much milk the country's 12,000 or so dairy farms produce.

Speaking in Kenosha, the president specifically mentioned Canada's dairy supply management system, which he called "one-sided" and one which doesn't let USA farmers compete fairly. The first is Canada's supply-management system for dairy and poultry products.

Trump appeared to be taking issue with Canadian dairy producer's decision to lower the price of dairy ingredients to make Canadian products more affordable, which drew business away from producers in Wisconsin and NY state.

"I don't think farmers have anything to worry about", he says.

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A spokeswoman for Canada's dairy industry said Tuesday night there has not been any new taxes on dairy imports.

"What the U.S.is saying is "Oh, you should be giving us access" - at the same time as (it's) saying 'Oh, we want to not give other people access in other markets, '" he said. The tariff prices US milk out of the Canadian market.

That leaves plenty of time for Trump to adopt MacNaughton's "glass is half full" outlook on Canada-U.S. trade.

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

She said the Canadian government has established crucial contacts with senior people in the Trump administration and has "very strong lines of communication" with the White House.

The document "clearly shows that the poor performance of the USA dairy sector is due to overproduction in the United States and around the world", he argues.

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Canada's Trudeau Defends Dairy System After Trump Criticism