U.S. President Donald Trump says he’s putting Canada on notice over protections to the dairy industry.
Trump slammed Canada’s supply management system in comments made Tuesday while signing a new “Buy American Hire American” executive order.
But while the president is accusing Canada’s dairy industry of being unfair to its U.S. counterpart, some in the Canadian industry say it’s nothing more than words.
Trevor Hargreaves with the BC Dairy Association dismissed Trump’s call, and defended the Canadian system.
“Across the border the real issue is that they do not monitor their production, they don’t control their production the way they do in Canada, which is why they have too much milk. If they controlled their production and utilized supply management themselves, there would be a much more prosperous system.”
Canada’s “supply management system” is run by provincial boards which impose tariffs and strict import quotas on imports.
LISTEN: Could an end to supply management be good for Canada?
But not everyone north of the border agrees.
Public policy analyst for the Montreal Economic Institute Alexandre Moreau says allowing producers in the United States to access our market will mean breaks for Canadian families, who on average are spending $444 a year on supply management costs for eggs, chicken and dairy.
He thinks we can use this as a bargaining chip on other trade deals.
“Let’s have a deal. We’ll get rid of our system that is very expensive for Canadian consumers, and on the other side you will give us free access [for] softwood lumber. And this way we could be winners in terms of consumers, but as well as producers that would have access to more markets.”
He says we impose tariffs that reach 300 per cent under the current system.
With files from Jeremy Lye and Jon Meyer