Canada's Trudeau defends dairy system after Trump criticism


The Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia (DFNS) are slamming U.S. President Donald Trump's recent comments targeting the Canadian dairy industry, saying what's going on in the neighbouring country is not a result of Canadian policies.

Francois Dumontier, a spokesman for Les Producteurs de lait du Quebec, said imports of USA milk products have increased since 1993 and now account for three-quarters of milk products in Canada.

"Wisconsin and NY dairy farmers are only the first victims of Canada's illicit dairy trade restrictions", the governors' memo stated.

MacNaughton writes that the Canada dairy industry is less protectionist than that of the U.S, which he says has employed technical barriers to keep Canadian dairy out of the US market.

Through NAFTA, U.S. dairy farmers are able to export ultra-filtered milk - a high-protein milk concentrate used to make cheese and yogurt - to Canada duty-free. "In the United States, or Europe, or New Zealand, they are producing more and more milk than what is needed".

During a stop in the Badger State on Tuesday, the president called Canada's actions "unfair" and promised to resolve the issue quickly.

Trudeau said he wants to have a fact-based conversation with the Americans, noting the USA - like other countries - subsidizes its dairy and agriculture industries to the tune of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. On the other hand, USA dairy lobby accused Canada by saying "systemic disregard" because of trade obligations and Canada industry accused US saying "scapegoating".

Canada's ambassador to Washington says President Donald Trump is wrong when he says Canada's trade practices in the dairy industry are "very unfair".

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"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". "As made clear in the report, Canada is not a contributor to the overproduction problem".

In the meantime, MacNaughton says Canada needs to be prepared on every single issue when it comes to cross-border trade and shouldn't isolate any one sector.

"We're not going to overreact", Trudeau said. And we'll be reporting back sometime over the next two weeks as to NAFTA and what we're going to do about it.

A 1960s trade law gives the president authority to restrict imports if they are determined to be harmful to US security interests.

"The whole thing is ridiculous".

In the letter, released by Ottawa, ambassador David MacNaughton said Canada's dairy industry was less protectionist than its US counterpart.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada said it was confident Ottawa would "continue to protect and defend" the dairy industry.

Currently, American farmers are sending their ultra-filtered milk north of the border without being subject to tariffs, due to NAFTA which was approved in 1994.