Since traveling to Wisconsin for a speech and bill signing, President Trump has added another country to the list of countries that he feels treat US trade unfairly. That country is Canada. “What they’ve done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace. It’s a disgrace,” Trump told reporters.
So, what is it? What has Canada done to hurt us?
The problem with Canada is that it uses a supply management system to regulate dairy production and pricing, and it provides regular quotas that monitor supply and demand and helps prevent surpluses and deficits. In other words, in sets the prices for milk at rate much higher than other countries and collects heavy taxes on imported dairy products. Lauren Southern, a Canadian political pundit, recalls how as a child her family would try to smuggle milk into Canada from the US since it was so much cheaper.
Last year, Canada implemented a policy that created a new class of milk prices for ultra-filtered milk, a liquid, high-protein concentrate sometimes used to make products such as cheese and yogurt. Canada lowered the prices for this milk class to undercut US-produced imports.
Dozens of dairy producers in Wisconsin and New York say they’ve been affected by the Canadian policy. Recently, Grassland Dairy Products cut contracts with about 75 Wisconsin farmers, saying they had lost access to the Canadian market. That access was worth $100 million per year, according to Bloomberg.
The New York-based Cayuga Milk Ingredients also told Bloomberg it had lost all of its Canadian exports, which comprised roughly 30% of its overall sales.
Americans across party lines have opposed this. Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker coauthored a letter Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo imploring Prime Minister Trudeau to develop a national agreement averting what he said would be a $50 million market loss for the state’s dairy industry. Senator Chuk Schumer of New York tweeted “I welcome Pres Trump’s opposition to Canada’s unfair dairy trade barriers. Will fight w him to help NY farmers & reverse this unwise policy.”
Even President Obama quietly pushed the Canadians to change their policies. Sources say Obama emphasized it to Trudeau in Washington DC and again during his final visit to Ottawa. Once again it was done quietly, easily drowned out by the boisterous reception bestowed upon the president by Canadian parliamentarians.
“The Trump White House is indistinguishable from the Obama White House on dairy,” said one Canadian official.
Can Trump do what Obama could not and deliver results? What do you thing? Comment below!