Canada's Trudeau defends dairy system after Trump blast

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And the prime minister says he will continue to protect Canada's agriculture producers, including the supply management system, as he tries to engage in "fact-based" conversation with the USA administration on a variety of trade irritants.

"There's a recognition that the levers that the federal government has cover the entire country and the housing market in Vancouver or Toronto is somewhat different than that in Halifax or Saskatoon or even Montreal", Trudeau said in an interview with Bloomberg News. He stood by his own system, by saying every country subsidizes agriculture. And we have a supply management system that works very well here in Canada. The United States, he said, now has a dairy trade surplus with Canada. "So it's not Canada that is the challenge here". Trump said in the Oval Office that the U.S. Trump suggested Thursday he would have more details to share within a couple of weeks about his government's plans for the North American Free Trade Agreement. "He has shown if he says one thing and actually hears good counter arguments or good reasons why he should shift his position, he will take a different position if it's a better one, if the arguments win him over", Trudeau said. "Rules, regulations, different things have changed, and our farmers in Wisconsin and NY state are being put out of business".

"Canada. what they've done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace".

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Trudeau's comments were, in the words of his interviewer, his first chance to react to the "constructive dialogue" started by Trump Tuesday, when he used a speech in Wisconsin to attack the unfairness of recent pricing changes for dairy ingredients in Canada that make American imports less competitive. He said it was caused by US and global overproduction of milk. Now I understand how certain governors are speaking to certain constituencies on that.

Trudeau said his government has told the new USA administration that Canada does not view the negotiations as a "zero-sum game" but that there are ways to improve NAFTA, which also includes Mexico, for everyone. "We're not going to overreact".