Donald Trump calls Canada 'disgraceful' in row over protectionism

"We can't let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers", Trump said.

Canada quickly sought to re-establish the "facts" after US President Donald Trump's attack on Canadian milk producers on Tuesday. There are fears among Canadians that they could be hurt as Trump targets Mexico in a re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump's latest comments were more extensive than his complaints earlier this week in Wisconsin about Canadian dairy regulations.

More than 70 dairy producers in both Wisconsin and NY are affected.

Canada has marketing boards that decide how much milk, poultry and eggs will be sold each year in Canada, then sets a minimum price while keeping foreign dairy products out because that would "screw this whole system up", the Toronto-based National Post newspaper reported in an story on price fixing last fall. About 70 dairy producers in both USA states are affected. Walker and Wisconsin's congressional delegation, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, to find a solution to the trade dispute.

Industry groups in New Zealand, Australia, the European Union, Mexico and the United States complained that the new prices for Canadian milk ingredients under-cut their exports to Canada.

The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to decide by Tuesday whether to impose duties on Canadian softwood, which American producers say is overly subsidized and unfairly floods their market.

"Canada needs to prepare for any eventuality and be ready to vigorously defend Canadian interests, but overreacting to the president's rhetoric would be a mistake", said Roland Paris, professor of global affairs at University of Ottawa and Mr. Trudeau's former foreign-policy adviser.

MacNaughton backed the organization's position that Canada has done nothing to block US imports, and that the predicament is the result of an "over-saturated" market that has led to lower prices. "As made clear in the report, Canada is not a contributor to the overproduction problem".

He says he will seek "fair trade" with all of America's trading partners "and that includes Canada". "It's a new US administration with some openly protectionist views". Their processor, Grassland Dairy, says Canada will no longer buy its products and, in turn, they will stop purchasing milk from dozens of Wisconsin farmers on May 1st.

"I am disappointed that the representatives of the Canadian government have not demonstrated the sense of urgency that we in Wisconsin feel about the crisis impacting so many of our local dairy farms", Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement afterward, adding that he was encouraged that a dialogue had at least been opened with Canada.

François Dumontier, a spokesperson for Les Producteurs de lait du Québec, says that while Trump condemned the supply management system on Tuesday, he may have actually been talking about a separate issue. Mr. Trump also has increasingly aired frustration about the delays he faces in working with Congress to get started renegotiating Nafta, including during an interview this month with The Wall Street Journal.

"The whole thing is ridiculous".

"We're going to make some very big changes or we're going to get rid of NAFTA once and for all", he said.

"Dairy trade between Canada and the US massively favours the USA, by a ratio of five to one".

Vanessa Coleman

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