Minnesota dairy farms affected by US-Canada trade dispute

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin and NY state officials have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take action to help dairy farmers in their states who've been hurt by Canada's decision to change policy in pricing its own milk.

Alberta's dairy farmers are defending Canada's supply management system in the face of criticism from USA president Donald Trump.

"More broadly, tens of thousands of dairy farmers will be affected by the larger scope of what Canada is doing, which is using pricing policy to offload milk powder in global markets where it will be competing with US exports", said Chris Galen, a federation spokesman.

"The fact is, NAFTA, whether it's Mexico or Canada, is a disaster for our country", Trump said.

Why did Donald Trump attack the Canadian dairy industry?

"In Canada, supply management is literally about matching supply with demand, and for us that avoids over production and it reduces the impact of the devastating market fluctuations that we do see right around the world, including in the U.S." said Weins.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed back against Trump's comments Thursday, saying dairy is protected "for good reason". US dairy groups say the issue will hurt the entire USA dairy industry, and President Trump said in Wisconsin this week that the existing rules were unfair.

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The Dairy Farmers of Canada, which has previously denounced the complaints as "falsehoods and half-truths", said Tuesday it was confident the federal government would continue to defend the dairy industry.

How much leverage does Canada have in renegotiating a trade deal with the U.S.?

"I'm sure we'll hear lots about dairy and we'll hear lots about other things and I'm sure there will be a lot of things that we will want to talk to them about, too", he said.

US dairy industry groups want Trump to urge Trudeau to halt a pricing policy that has disrupted some USA dairy exports and prioritize dairy market access in NAFTA renegotiation talks.

While Trump's "America First" attitude has yet to show up in any successful legislation, it has appeared in numerous executive actions, including the order he was signing in his office Thursday as he complained about Canada. "It's a disgrace", Trump said. There were allegations from Governors of Wisconsin and NY stating that the trade practices of Canada are responsible for the financial crisis faced by the farmers in the US. In September, dairy groups from the U.S., Australia, Europe, New Zealand and Mexico sent letters to their leaders asking to initiate a dispute at the World Trade Organization.

Trudeau told Bloomberg Television that the United States in fact ran a dairy surplus with Canada. It's unclear how his negotiators will work to broker an agreement that will be palatable to both Canada and the USA, or if the issue may be pushed to the wayside because of its complexity.

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