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Congresswoman Elise Stefanik

Representing the 21st District of New York

Stefanik, Lawmakers Write to President Trump on Canadian Dairy Policies

April 26, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) and a bipartisan group of 68 lawmakers wrote to President Donald J. Trump applauding the President’s acknowledgement of Canada’s protectionist trade policies related to dairy products and advocating for swift action to ensure Canada upholds its trade agreements.

“President Trump’s statement last week was right,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “Canada’s actions are harmful to New York dairy farmers. Our dairy producers and manufacturers have already lost out on export opportunities and I am greatly concerned that dairy sales to Canada will further erode at a time when our dairy farmers are facing some of the lowest milk prices in recent years.”

“Trade with Canada is very important to both New York and Canada, and we need to be clear with Canada as they contemplate additional dairy policies that will harm New York’s dairy sector.”

The letter details Canadian trade practices that “may violate Canada’s existing trade commitments to the United States by effectively discouraging U.S. dairy exports to Canada.” It also reinforces that “our districts and states rely on the jobs the dairy industry provides and cannot afford further protectionist policies from our northern neighbor.”

Full text of the letter along with signatories can be seen here and full text can be read below.

April 26, 2017

Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Mr. President:

We write to thank you for your recent acknowledgement of Canada’s protectionist dairy policies and urge your administration to take swift action to hold Canada to its trade commitments in this area.

The U.S. dairy sector relies on its exports to survive. In 2016, the industry exported approximately 15 percent of its milk production, worth roughly $5 billion. To our NAFTA partners alone, the United States exported $1.2 billion of dairy products to Mexico and $631 million to Canada.  To that end, U.S. exports helped the dairy sector maintain roughly 110,000 U.S. jobs in farming and manufacturing. 

Unfortunately, Canada’s recent revisions to its milk classification system have prompted serious concerns.  Canadians traditionally used five classes to price its products, ranging from fluid milks and creams to milk used for further processing.  In April 2016, the Canadian province of Ontario began implementing a new milk price class, Class 6, which has dramatically altered dairy imports and skewed the market. 

More recently, Canada’s newly implemented Class 7 National Ingredients Strategy has displaced current U.S. imports and is poised to negatively impact global milk powder markets.  We are concerned that these programs may violate Canada’s existing trade commitments to the United States by effectively discouraging U.S. dairy exports to Canada.

The Ontario Class 6 program has already slashed U.S. exports of ultra-filtered milk starting in mid-2016 and U.S. companies are reporting further losses of contracts.  The loss of these and other exports because of the Class 6 and 7 programs will continue to harm American dairy manufacturers and their supplying farms.  Our districts and states rely on the jobs the dairy industry provides and cannot afford further protectionist policies from our northern neighbor. 

As your administration crafts NAFTA priorities, we must ensure that our trade partners maintain compliance with ongoing agreements.  Please stand with us in enforcing current law and opposing Canadian policies that disrupt global milk powder markets and directly hurt American exports. 

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