Published: Mon, April 24, 2017
National | By Mildred Castro

For second time this week, Trump jabs at Canada over trade

A Canadian government minister said Thursday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration is looking forward to trade negotiations with Donald Trump despite the USA president's recent ramp up of criticism of Canadian policy.

Schumer, D-N.Y., the Senate minority leader, said he and Trump struck a deal in a phone conversation Thursday to take on Canada regarding an issue hurting dairy farms in NY and Wisconsin.

Other dairy-producing countries oppose Canada's current protectionist policies, which include high tariffs on imported milk and cheese products.

Trump said on Thursday "what they've done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace".

Trump's threat to do away with or amend NAFTA could adversely affect the economy of Canada, whose largest trading partner is the U.S.

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MacNaughton did not directly address Trump's comments Wednesday, and avoided questions about the possibility of a cross-border trade war.

Ashlee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, who hails from Janesville, said Tuesday that Ryan's office is talking with Wisconsin farmers and dairy groups about options.

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"The fact of the matter is, is that we're already accepting way more dairy products into Canada than Canada is exporting into the states".

"We're not going to overreact", Trudeau said.

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Trudeau is anxious about Trump's protectionist talk and has repeatedly sent his ministers to the talk about the importance of the trade relationship. And last week, another letter urging Trump's assistance from the National Milk Producers Federation, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

A recent paper by the Montreal Economic Institute said that supply management in Canada's dairy sector has led to inflated consumer prices for milk products that cost each Canadian an extra $258 a year.

In a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Canadian ambassador David MacNaughton writes "Canada is not to blame for the global situation that both Canadian and American farmers face". The efficiencies of the supply chain between Canada, United States and North America make us great competitors with the rest of the world.

Schumer said Trump reached out to him Thursday in a phone call to discuss how they could work together in the trade dispute.

He said both he and Ottawa would continue to speak out for Canadian interests when necessary, and expects USA politicians to do the same.

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The only change has been Canada's deliberate pricing policy decision - starting past year in Ontario and spreading more recently to other provinces - to create a national ingredients strategy to undercut competition from the United States.

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