Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Trump blasts dairy supply management

United States President Donald Trump attacked Canada’s milk supply management system when he was in Wisconsin this week.

He made it clear that it’s on his hit list in a new round of trade negotiations with Canada and Mexico.

What’s not so clear is whether he was particularly angry about recent marketing board moves to displace milk ingredients U.S. suppliers were shipping to Canadian processors.

The Canadian processors have stopped importing after the milk marketing boards reduced prices for milk that goes into the products the processors were making with the imports.

What is clear is that U.S. dairy farmers have been angry about Canadian supply management for a long time because it includes high tariffs on U.S. milk and dairy products.

The U.S. dairy interests are now headed by Tom Vilsack who became their chief executive officer after being U.S. Agriculture Secretary in former president Barack Obama’s administration.

Vilsack is well informed on the issues and has also been a strong critic of Canadian supply management.

At the very least, the U.S. will be insisting that Canada make the same concessions it was prepared to make during the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trump pulled the U.S. out of that deal; what remains to be seen is whether the remaining partners will strike a deal.