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Trump Pledges Immediate Action to Halt Canada’s Unfair Dairy Policies

Apr 19, 2017

President Donald Trump pledged yesterday to “stand up for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin” and get a solution for the unfair Canadian pricing policy that is effectively blocking U.S. exports of ultra-filtered milk. “We’re going to work on it immediately, in fact starting today,” Trump said during a speech in Kenosha, Wis., where he signed a new executive order that will promote “Buy American, Hire American” business practices.

Holding Canada to its dairy trade commitments has remained a strong focus for IDFA and the U.S. dairy industry, as well as state agriculture officials. Most recently, Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA, met yesterday with officials from the White House, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to discuss the urgent need for the United States to act against Canada’s protectionist policies. 

“We’re very pleased that President Trump spoke out yesterday and promised quick action on this issue,” said Dykes, adding that it would only be a matter of time before other U.S. dairy products and producers would be affected. A second and longer term consequence, Dykes explained, is that the new Canadian policy facilitates significant dumping of Canadian dairy products onto the world market, and it’s already having an effect on markets for skim milk powder.

According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s exports of skim milk powder have increased 289 percent over the past year, and it has been reported that the country recently exported SMP to Mexico well below international market prices.

“This exponential increase in Canadian dairy exports, if left unchecked, clearly would pose a much bigger problem for the U.S. dairy industry in other markets, especially Mexico, which is our largest trade partner and is exploring alternative sources,” Dykes said.

Canada Responds

The Canadian Government took a firm stand yesterday in support of the new policies when David MacNaughton, the Canadian Ambassador to the United States, said, “Canada does not accept the contention that Canada’s dairy policies are the cause of financial loss for dairy farmers in the United States.” In a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, MacNaughton claimed overproduction and a glut of milk on the global market were to blame.

IDFA, however, believes that Canada’s new pricing policy is a separate issue from the current oversupply of milk and that these recent Canadian policy changes will harm the world dairy market.

IDFA Continues Drumbeat on Trade

Last week, IDFA joined the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) in urging the administration to tell Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to halt the new pricing policy and restore imports of ultra-filtered milk. The four organizations asked President Trump to direct U.S. agencies to “examine a full range of tools that could be used immediately to impress upon Canada in a concrete way the importance of dependable two-way trade.” 

IDFA will continue to urge the administration to take immediate action on ultra-filtered milk and to make dairy a key priority in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

These additional stories outline the efforts undertaken by IDFA and the dairy industry since January to raise awareness and request action by the President Trump.

View the video of President Trump’s comments about dairy here.

For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at

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