PM wants to talk ‘facts’ with Trump

De­fends sup­ply man­age­ment

Truro Daily News - - CANADA -

With Don­ald Trump ramp­ing up his anti-Canada trade rhetoric, Justin Trudeau says the United States – like other coun­tries – sub­si­dizes its dairy and agri­cul­ture in­dus­tries by hun­dreds of mil­lions, if not bil­lions, of dol­lars.

And the prime min­is­ter says he will con­tinue to pro­tect Canada’s agri­cul­ture pro­duc­ers, in­clud­ing the sup­ply man­age­ment sys­tem, as he tries to en­gage in “fact-based” con­ver­sa­tion with the U.S. administration on a va­ri­ety of trade ir­ri­tants.

“Let’s not pre­tend we’re in a global free mar­ket when it comes to agri­cul­ture,” Trudeau said Thurs­day in a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion with Bloomberg tele­vi­sion that pre­ceded Trump’s lat­est trade in­vec­tive. “Every coun­try pro­tects, for good rea­son, its agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries. And we have a sup­ply man­age­ment sys­tem that works very well here in Canada ... The Amer­i­cans and other coun­tries chose to sub­si­dize to the tunes of hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars, if not bil­lions of dol­lars, their agri­cul­ture in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing their dairy.”

He said the U.S. cur­rently

en­joys a $400-mil­lion dairy sur­plus with Canada.

“So it’s not Canada that is a chal­lenge here.”

Min­utes later came the now-fa­mil­iar sight of Trump in the Oval Of­fice, fol­lowed by a pointed at­tack on Cana­dian trade prac­tices and the im­pact on U.S. in­ter­ests.

“Canada, what they’ve done to our dairy farm work­ers is a dis­grace. It’s a dis­grace,” Trump said. “Rules, reg­u­la­tions, dif­fer­ent things have changed. And our farm­ers in Wis­con­sin and New York State are be­ing put out of busi­ness.”

Trump was echo­ing and

am­pli­fy­ing the com­plaints of Wis­con­sin and New York gov­er­nors, who say Canada’s de­ci­sion to cre­ate a new low­er­priced, clas­si­fi­ca­tion of milk prod­uct has frozen U.S. pro­duc­ers out of the Cana­dian mar­ket.

Trudeau ac­knowl­edged the con­cerns of those two states, but said he didn’t want to “over­re­act.” It was Trudeau’s first com­ment since Trump first at­tacked the Cana­dian dairy in­dus­try on Tues­day at an event in Wis­con­sin.

Canada’s am­bas­sador to the United States, David MacNaughton, fired back at Trump’s crit­i­cism on Tues­day by writ­ing to

the gov­er­nors of those two states telling them that the plight of their farm­ers was not Canada’s fault. He said it was caused by U.S. and global over­pro­duc­tion of milk.

“Any con­ver­sa­tion around that starts with rec­og­niz­ing the facts. Now I un­der­stand how cer­tain gov­er­nors are speak­ing to cer­tain con­stituen­cies on that. It’s pol­i­tics,” Trudeau said. “Dif­fer­ent coun­tries have dif­fer­ent ap­proaches and we’re go­ing to en­gage in a thought­ful fact­based con­ver­sa­tion on how to move for­ward in a way that both pro­tects our con­sumers and our agri­cul­tural pro­duc­ers.”

CP PHOTO

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is in­ter­viewed by Bloomberg Ed­i­tor-in-Chief John Mick­leth­wait in Toronto.

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