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Perdue Pushes Canada to Drop Dairy, Wheat Trade Barriers
USAgNet - 06/06/2017

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made his first international trip as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on Mondayto Toronto, Canada. During the trip, he made it clear that the Trump administration wants the country to drop key trade barriers to U.S. dairy and wheat.

According to Agri-Pulse, the discussion between Perdue and Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay in Toronto was centered around efforts to lay down a framework for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the USDA chief said he would like to see the dairy and wheat issues resolved first.

Perdue stressed that Canada may not be willing to give up the protections for Canadian dairy and wheat outside of NAFTA because they could be used as leverage during talks to redo the 23-year-old trade pact between the U.S. Canada and Mexico.

Dairy is likely to be the toughest of the issues to resolve. It was in April that Wisconsin dairies began feeling the impact of Canada’s Class 7 pricing policy, which ensures that the prices of U.S. product – primarily ultra-filtered milk used to make cheese – will always be undercut by domestic Canadian product. As Class 7 was implemented, some U.S. dairies that sell the ultra-filtered product were shut out of Canada and the reaction in the U.S. was swift.

President Donald Trump denounced the policy and pledged to fight it.

The USDA says as two of the world's largest agricultural producers with a shared border, Canada and the United States are key markets for each other's agricultural products. In 2016, the United States exported $20.2 billion of agricultural products to Canada, making it our second-largest agricultural export market, while Canada exported $21 billion of agricultural products to the United States.

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