He was commenting on the North American Free Trade Negotiations, but he could also be referencing the World Trade Organization where the U.S. could file a challenge against the pricing designed to displace imports from the United States of a new category of dairy product – diafiltered milk.
Because it’s new, it’s not on Canada’s list of dairy products facing stiff import duties of up to 300 per cent.
Vilsack said “obviously our position is that Class 7 has to go, that it’s manipulating a system in a way that is unfair and not consistent with the spirit of international agreements.”
Vilsack also said “Canadian supply management can’t be sustained if you are committed to open and free trade.
That echoes the U.S. position taken at NAFTA negotiations last week, and it extends to chickens, eggs, turkeys and hatching eggs as well as dairy.
“It’s unfair not only to U.S. producers but to producers all over the world and it’s also unfair to consumers in Canada who are basically paying a lot more for their dairy products than they would need to had they had an open system,” Vilsack said.
Vilsack says it’s critically important to do no harm to the other party in the negotiations—Mexico.
“We need to be able to preserve markets in Mexico so that we don’t create additional barriers to access,” he says. “Mexico is our number one market. If you start to see an imposing of tariffs and barriers then that market basically begins to peel off and we begin to lose market share to the EU or New Zealand.”
Canada and Mexico have been making common cause on a number of issues raised by the U.S.