Australia, New Zealand support US. claims

Canada said Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s charge that it is milking American dairy farmers through unfair trade practices is not based in fact.

But David MacNaughton, who refuted the charge in letters sent to the governors of Wisconsin and New York on Tuesday – the same day Trump leveled the criticism – sought to downplay the simmering trade dispute.

“There’s always going to be irritants,” he told Canada’s Business News Network (BNN) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “We’ve had a tough time on softwood lumber for 30 years. And we’ll hear lots about other things. And I am sure there will be a lot of things that we want to talk to them about, too.”

But his letter to the governors in answer to Trump’s charges was more pointed.

“Canada does not accept the contention that Canadian dairy policies are the cause of financial loss for dairy farmers in the United States,” MacNaughton wrote, as reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “The facts do not bear this out.”

Four U.S. dairy industry groups wrote Trump last week and accused Canada of breaking dairy trade commitments through tariff protection.

“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,” BNN reported.

Dairy industries organizations in Australia and New Zealand said Wednesday that they would support the U.S. if it took the dairy dispute to the World Trade Organization, following Trump’s declaration that existing rules are unfair, the Financial Post reported.

In Ontario, the price of a liter of milk is CAN$2.69; in Wisconsin CAN$2.41; and in Wallonia in Belgium CAN$1.63.

Canada has marketing boards that decide how much milk, poultry and eggs will be sold each year in Canada, then sets a minimum price while keeping foreign dairy products out because that would “screw this whole system up,” the Toronto-based National Post newspaper reported in an story on price fixing last fall.

But MacNaughton said there is too much at stake to let anything interfere with trade between the two countries.

“When there’s [Can]$2 billion worth of trade going both ways every single day … and 9 million jobs in the U.S. that depend on trade with Canada, you know, I think it’s going to work out just fine,” MacNaughton said, as reported in the Financial Post.

Canada refutes US claims of unfair dairy trade

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