Members of Canada’s federal and provincial governments are coming to the defence of the dairy sector.
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“The supply-management system allows hard-working Ontario farmers and processors to consistently meet the demand for safe, high-quality products for Ontario and Canadian consumers,” Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, and Jeff Leal, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, said in a joint statement on April 22.
“Our government continues to strongly support the integrity of Canada’s supply-management system, both nationally and in Ontario, which has served producers, processors and consumers well for almost half a century.”
Last Thursday, U.S. President Trump commented on current American dairy trade relations with Canada, calling them a “disgrace.” He referenced the fact that Canada imposes tariffs on imported dairy products and attacked Canada’s implementation of new pricing on domestic milk.
The new pricing led to some American dairy processors in New York and Wisconsin, two of the country’s largest dairy-producing states, to reduce milk intake from local producers, leaving some farmers without buyers.
During a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the comments made by President Trump.
“I will continue to defend supply management because it works for our farmers, it works for our agricultural industry and it works for Canadians,” Trudeau said. “The way to do that is to make arguments in a respectful fashion (and) based on facts…”
David MacNaughon, Canada’s ambassador the United States, also defended supply management in a letter.
“Canada is not to blame for the global situation that both Canadian and American dairy farmers face,” the letter said. “Our government supports Canada’s supply management system, dairy farmers and the entire dairy industry.”
Letter to Wisconsin and New York
To show further support for Ontario’s ag sector, Premier Wynne wrote a letter to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on April 22.
“The agri-food sector is a fundamental element of our economic partnership and a driver of prosperity of Ontarians, Wisconsinites and New Yorkers,” she wrote. “In fact, Ontario-US two-way trade in agricultural products in 2016 was worth $28.8 billion – specifically, $11.2 billion in exports to the US and $17.6 billion in imports from the US to Ontario.”
Investigating U.S. claims
Various claims suggest that the United States has lost tens of millions in exports due to Canada’s dairy policy, but a Guelph-based organization says that’s not necessarily the case.
A report by Agri-Food Economic Systems shows American dairy exports to Canada increased from over US$423 million in 2012 to more than US$592 million in 2016.
“The reporting of US dairy exports to Canada by the US Department of Agriculture does not show the losses of market claimed by the US dairy industry and enunciated by President Trump”, Al Mussell, Agri-Food Economic Systems research lead and co-author of the report, said in an April 24 release.
“In fact, US dairy exports to Canada are increasing in value.”
SOURCE Diego Flammini, Farms.com
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