We are pleased that U.S. trade negotiators have told Canada that its problematic dairy policies must be addressed in the negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The proposal advanced by the U.S. Trade Representative is the right approach to move dairy trade between our two countries closer to the free trade relationship that exists for most other agricultural products under NAFTA. For too long, Canada’s exorbitant tariffs on dairy imports – in the range of 250-300 percent – have been at odds with an overall free trade policy between our countries. The administration’s proposal to reduce those tariffs and increase dairy trade between the United States and Canada is good for consumers on both sides of the border.
Equally important, we are very pleased with the U.S. insistence that Canada rescind its new Class 7 milk pricing scheme. Class 7 is a government-sanctioned effort to dump Canada’s surplus milk solids onto the world market to the detriment of dairy farmers in the United States and around the world who have to compete with these subsidized exports. It has to go.
We are gratified that our trade negotiators have heard the concerns of America’s dairy farmers and cooperatives, and made dairy trade a key objective in the U.S.-NAFTA agenda. The problems created by Canada’s dairy system must be resolved as part of the current negotiations. There can be no acceptable NAFTA outcome unless these issues are resolved.