Lawmakers Call on Trump to Oppose Canadian Milk Program

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By Casey Wooten

Sixty-eight House members are calling on President Donald Trump to oppose Canada’s recently enacted dairy pricing policies, which they say are pushing U.S. producers out of the market.

Canada implemented a new milk pricing and classification system in April 2016 for condensed milk proteins, used to make some cheeses. U.S. dairy farmers and trade groups say the move undercuts them from selling similar products to Canadian processors and violates trade agreements.

In an April 26 letter to the president, the lawmakers called on Trump to take “swift action” and pressure Canada to reverse its decision.

“We are concerned that these programs may violate Canada’s existing trade commitments to the United States by effectively discouraging U.S. dairy exports to Canada,” the letter said.

Trump has spoken out on the issue, calling the pricing policy “unfair” in comments April 24. Trump threatened to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement April 25, but has since pulled back after speaking to the leaders of Canada and Mexico.

Canada’s Position

In an April 18 letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton said Canada didn’t accept the contention that the country’s dairy policies were harming U.S. producers.

The letter pointed to a February 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture economic report saying U.S. dairy exports fell because of reduced demand and a strong U.S. dollar.

“Canada has not taken any broader action to limit imports from the United States,” the letter said. “As a matter of fact, Canada’s industry is less protectionist than that of the U.S., which has employed technical barriers to keep Canadian dairy out of the U.S. market.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Casey Wooten in Washington at cwooten@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at pHendrie@bna.com

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