MONTREAL — U.S. dairy groups are calling on Donald Trump to set his sights on Canada’s “protectionist” dairy practices as he seeks to safeguard American jobs.
The International Dairy Foods Association, National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council, along with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, say a planned national Canadian ingredients strategy to block U.S. exports is a violation of NAFTA and the World Trade Organization.
In a letter sent Wednesday to the incoming president and his trade nominees, they said Ontario milk pricing policies adopted last April are hurting U.S. exports of ultra-filtered milk and costing thousands of American jobs.
They say a national policy to increase the price Canadian processors would pay for U.S. product would put further pressure on American communities that export milk and other dairy products to Canada.
The U.S. dairy groups say they are already restricted to the Canadian market by “exorbitant tariffs” and market access, but Canada is “flouting its trade obligations” by “intentionally blocking imports” from the United States.
The Dairy Farmers of Canada say they are watching the situation closely but remain confident that the federal government supports the Canadian dairy sector.
A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland declined to specifically comment on the letter to Trump, but said the government will continue to support farmers and producers and looks forward to working with the new U.S. administration and Congress on issues including trade and investment.