Wisconsin, New York governors ask Trump for help on milk


President Donald Trump revived his tough talk on the North American Free Trade Agreement Tuesday, warning Canada it must stop protecting its dairy farmers from US competition.

Standing up for dairy farmers in Wisconsin "demands fair trade with all of our trading partners", Trump said, "and that includes Canada". The pricing agreement was a response to growing USA exports of milk proteins that were not subject to Canada's high tariffs.

Canada's action made it too expensive for that country's dairy companies to continue purchasing ultra filtered milk from the USA, which had been entering Canada duty free.

More than 70 dairy producers in both Wisconsin and NY are affected.

In a joint letter with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday urged Trump to "address Canada's protectionist dairy trade policies so that they honor their global commitments under NAFTA and other trade agreements". "Canadian farmers always get $5-10 per hundredweight of milk more than us because they have a government-controlled supply management program".

Relations with the US are crucial as more than 75 percent of Canada's exports go to the USA, while 18 percent of USA exports go to Canada. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has blamed the Senate for delaying the confirmation of Trump's USA trade representative.

In a joint letter, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) urged the administration to tell Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to halt the new pricing policy and restore imports of the blocked U.S. products, specifically ultra-filtered milk.

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"We're going to call Canada and we're going to say 'What happened?"' Trump said during an appearance at a Snap-On Tool plant in Kenosha. "This is going to add to it", said Kimball, who runs Country Ayre Farms in Dewittville.

Last month, a free-market think tank suggested using more open trade in the dairy sector as a bargaining chip in upcoming trade negotiations with the U.S.in exchange for more stable trade in softwood lumber.

"The whole thing is ridiculous".

"We're going to make some very big changes or we're going to get rid of NAFTA once and for all", he said.

"I strongly encourage other dairy processors to consider how they can be part of the solution", Brancel said.

"So the Americans are not suffering from the current terms of NAFTA and existing trade agreements".