Trudeau defends supply management, wants 'fact' based trade talk with US

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He also signalled he wants to do more than simply tweak NAFTA, saying he is looking for "very big changes" to the trilateral pact that includes Mexico, or else he will scrap it once and for all.

The U.S. president's tough talk on trade was coupled with the signing of a "Buy American-Hire American" executive order created to bolster protectionist U.S. procurement policies and limit the number of foreign workers coming into the country.

USA dairy groups appealed to Trump for help after Canada recently introduced a new policy that gives Canadian producers an incentive to buy domestic supplies of ultra-filtered milk, a concentrated ingredient used to boost protein content in cheese and yogurt. Trump went on to say that the issue is another "typical one-sided deal against the United States" and that this latest incident is an example of why the North American Free Trade Agreement fails to keep America's best interest at hand. "The Americans and other countries choose to subsidize to the tunes of hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, their agriculture industries, including their dairy", the prime minister said.

According to Mike von Massow, a professor at the University of Guelph specializing in food economics, the complaints of Wisconsin dairy farmers have nothing to do with supply management - and much more to do with fewer Canadian dairy products entering the American market. Trump promised to work with Wisconsin's congressional delegation to get a solution after the governors of Wisconsin and NY urged him to take action. More than 75% of Canada's exports go to the USA, and only 18% is imported from U.S.

MacNaughton added that Canada's dairy imports from the USA rose to $83 million past year, up 17 percent from 2015.

"Nobody was surprised with his statement, because he's always targeted certain areas and I don't believe it's the first time, if not him, members of his team, have mentioned the dairy industry in Canada", said the premier at an event in the Montreal-area riding of Gouin Tuesday night.

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Trade groups for US dairy farmers have complained that a policy rolled out in Canada recently violates the trade agreement by creating incentives for Canadian processors to use local supplies. His letter referenced a dairy outlook report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture which he says "clearly indicates the poor results in the U.S. sector are due U.S. and global overproduction".

Indeed, Canada's softwood industry makes no secret of its own search for opportunities in China. "We're going to have to get to the negotiatiing table with Canada very, very quickly", he said.

The work would start immediately, he added.

"Different countries have different approaches, and we're going to engage in a thoughtful, fact-based conversation on how to move forward in a way that both protects our consumers and our agricultural producers", he said. "We're going to get the solution". "Our relationship with the US administration is extremely strong and I think it's going to pay dividends in the long run".

"The whole thing is ridiculous".

"I don't expect there would be many countries that would do anything other than support a WTO action against Canada", said Australian Dairy Farmers interim Chief Executive John McQueen.

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