Sen. Schumer urges U.S. trade rep to level playing field in Canada for Upstate dairy farmers
Last week, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer spoke directly to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to urge him to secure a level playing field with Canadian producers during the renegotiation of the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
According to Schumer, in recent years, Canada has established dairy pricing policies and has maintained high tariffs that have effectively created a “Dairy Wall” -- stopping most U.S. dairy products from accessing Canadian markets and distorting global trade. Dairy farmers and producers from across New York State have been severely hurt by Canada’s manipulative and protectionist dairy trade practices, and it will only get worse without action.
Schumer, in his call, urged USTR Representative Lighthizer to press forward during NAFTA negotiations to secure free and fair trade for dairy farmers and producers in New York State and beyond. While NAFTA negotiations have stalled and there have been no scheduled NAFTA rounds, new rounds of negotiations are anticipated.
“During my call with United States Trade Representative Lighthizer, I made it clear that our hardworking New York dairy farmers and producers across Upstate New York are the most competitive in the world, but they depend on stable and fair rules to compete fairly in the nearby Canadian market," Senator Schumer said. "But Canada has erected a de facto protectionist ‘dairy wall’ and is not playing by the rules, and the current NAFTA renegotiation must be used to rectify that.
"I urged Representative Lighthizer to do more and do it now, so that dairy farmers and producers can finally compete on a level playing field, and am calling on him again to use this opportunity to fix the unfair Canadian dairy trade barriers that have plagued dairy farmers and producers across Upstate New York.”
Schumer explained Canada has an unfair advantage over New York dairy farmers and producers. In addition to Canada’s 270-percent tariff on milk, a program called the “Class 7” pricing program, a market-distorting supply management system, has caused severe pain to New York dairy producers since it came into force last year.
In fact, Canada has used the Class 7 program to triple its milk powder exports in the past year, by creating excess milk production capacity within Canada then dumping the resulting milk powder onto world markets. To further prove this dumping exists, Schumer added that Canada’s dairy farmers are some of the highest paid in the world, yet Canadian dairy companies are still able to be among the lowest cost sellers of Class 7 products globally.
Schumer made clear in his call that as the United States, Canadian and Mexican trade officials are closing in on a deal to revamp NAFTA, dairy farmers must be protected, and that more must be done to finally dismantle Canada’s market-distorting policies and ensure a level playing field for Upstate New York ’s dairy farmers and producers.
Schumer said that he has directly stressed the importance of securing meaningful changes in our dairy trade relationship with Canada to past and current administration officials, including President Trump, current United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton, and the U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft -- who have all committed to address this issue.
Recently, Schumer joined Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) to urge U.S. trade officials to do more to secure a level playing field with Canadian producers during NAFTA negotiations.
shimmer forgot to praise Trump for his very significant efforts in the same vein.