Dairy: The Latest Point of Contention During the Renegotiation of NAFTA

Melanie ConsCanadian Farm News

Canadian Dairy Farmers are feeling the wrath of Trump with verbal attacks and Twitter posts complaining that Canadian tariffs are unfair to the United States.

Canada’s dairy farmers are located mainly in Quebec and Ontario, which are provinces that have big pull when it comes to elections. This means that the influence they have over politics is quite large.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada are unwilling to make more compromises, they had recently accepted larger tariff-free quotas from the EU and Asia and are concerned that their message of staying tough on the U.S. quotas might not be reaching politicians.

Canada currently has 10 per cent of its market open to imports from other countries, but after that there are significant tariffs blocking anything else. These tariffs can reach as high as 314 percent. This system has been in place since the 1970s and applies to dairy, eggs and poultry and are subject to be set by provincial boards and government corporations.

David Wiens, vice-president of Dairy Farmers of Canada is concerned that giving up anything further would “make it very difficult for us to continue the growth and investment we’ve seen in the past several years. Opening to the U.S. market would be devastating.”