US dairy calls on Trump to fix Canada’s ‘protectionist’ trade policies

US dairy groups estimated the Canada's prohibitive dairy trade policies has cost the US $150m in ultra-filtered milk exports.©iStock/steverts

In a letter to President-elect Donald Trump, US dairy groups said that Canada’s “protectionist” trade policies are intentionally designed to block imports from the US and are in direct violation of commitment made under the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization. 

This is the second letter the US dairy industry has written to Trump since he was elected to office urging him to act on Canada’s “unacceptable” trade policies in the week Trump is sworn in as President.

In the letter, leaders of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), US Dairy Export Council (USDEC), and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) said that Canada already imposes “exorbitant tariffs” on imports and that only limited access to the Canadian market is granted by NAFTA.

One particular concern is Canada’s National Ingredient Strategy, which allows Canadian dairy processors to buy domestic milk at lower prices than the national supply management system. The US dairy groups said that this allows processors in Canada to buy domestically and cut milk imports.

What US dairy groups fear

The US dairy groups outlined and quantified the detriment this could have to the US economy. According to the USDA, $1bn of US dairy exports generates more than 20,000 jobs for Americans and almost $3bn of economic output.

The dairy groups said that some US dairy suppliers are reporting declining revenues and jobs for dairy farmers and processors.

“This negative impact is conservatively estimated at $150m worth of ultra-filtered milk exports being lost by companies in Wisconsin and New York, which are highly reliant on their trade with Canada. In fact, the entire US dairy industry is being hurt, as milk prices are being driven down nationally by Canada’s trade actions,” the groups said.

“Having an even wider impact on America’s dairy farmers and processors, additional large volumes of skim milk powder will be forced onto the thinly traded global market resulting in a further depression of prices that will negatively impact the revenues of dairy farmers around the world.”

Copied on the letter was Robert Lighthizer, the Trump Administration’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, along with the leaders and members of the House and Senate agricultural committees.

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Comments (3)

Randy - 18 Jan 2017 | 04:38

Look abroad to see your future if you allow this to happen

The last two decades are evidence enough of what happens when you decide to subsidise dairy farmers with taxpayer bailouts rather than allow them to stabilise prices with supply management: farms undergo a hopeless cycle of boom and bust and ultimately morph into large factories. Noteably the change does not make the farms more efficent than our current farms are in terms of per cow production. Also of note, the process does not create cheaper milk products for consumers (unless you are going to point to the price glut of the last 2 years in which farmers took enormous losses and dumped their over supply on the market at a loss). So why would we give up a system that has been a success when most other countries have had disastrous results. Don't race to the bottom. Don't shoot yourself in the foot.

18-Jan-2017 at 16:38 GMT

Bessy the Cow - 17 Jan 2017 | 04:45

It's about time.

Why are we paying inflated prices for dairy products? Oh, wait, quebec.....

17-Jan-2017 at 04:45 GMT

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