MacNaughton first responded soon after Trump's remarks, sending a letter to the governors of Wisconsin and NY, both us dairy strongholds, saying "the facts do not bear out" the USA president's criticism of Canada.
David MacNaughton says the problem is not with Canada - instead, he argues American and global overproduction, coupled with low world milk prices, are what's really harming US dairy farmers.
"Nearly one year ago, we, along with other state and USA dairy officials, warned our federal partners-and Canadian industry and government representatives at all levels-that protectionist regulations would harm USA dairy producers". Canada changed its policy on pricing domestic milk to cover more dairy ingredients, leading to lower prices for Canadian products including ultra-filtered milk that compete with the USA product. "Rules, regulations, different things have changed - and our farmers in Wisconsin and NY state are being put out of business".
"We're going to call Canada and we're going to say 'What happened?"' Trump said during an appearance at a Snap-On Tool plant in Kenosha. Trump promised that he will be working on a strategy with representatives of Congress, including speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.).
"We don't feel good about USA farms going out of business".
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- About 80 per cent of Canadian production is in Ontario and Quebec. "Yeah, we're glad to be dairy farmers and we're glad that our kids are actually taking over our farm, so my kids are in their 20's still and they're excited about a future in dairy farming" said Gourlay.
While Trump also used the Wisconsin speech to criticize NAFTA, Dumontier says that the amount of milk imported to Canada from the United States has increased to 149,000 tonnes from 24,000 tonnes.
"So the Americans are not suffering from the current terms of NAFTA and existing trade agreements". The President told his audience Canada had been "very unfair" to USA dairy farmers.
"As politicians we're very much trained to say something and stick with it".
US dairy trade groups said they were encouraged by Trump's statement.
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As it prepares to enter continental trade negotiations this fall, the U.S.is weighing other actions that affect Canada.
"Ultimately governors and people in the states recognize the importance of our relationship and that it's two-way, and we are going to continue to build on that", McNeil said.
This is not the first time Canada's dairy industry has been criticised for being overly protectionist.
"The truth is, both the USA and world dairy markets are now over-saturated, which has led to low prices at the farm-gate and a lower price received by the processors", said Isabelle Bouchard, director of communications and government relations at Dairy Farmers of Canada, in a blog post. While he doesn't see the policy being reversed, he's hopeful the USA government will use it as a bargaining chip when renegotiating NAFTA. On lumber, cheaper Canadian wood has reduced the cost of US homes but also caused recurring legal spats with the USA industry that alleges product-dumping.
"The impact is our sales went to zero on April 1 because we have no sales into Canada at this point", said Ellis, CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients.
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"We can't produce milk against the U.S. Treasury", he said.