First there was the promise to build a wall dividing the US from Mexico. Then came the controversial travel ban, the question marks over his campaign’s ties with Russia, and more recently the growing threat of war in Syria and the Korean peninsula.
Now President Donald Trump is taking aim at Canada’s dairy industry.
Speaking on Tuesday at a rally in Wisconsin, Trump unveiled his new Buy American Hire American executive order, and said that “unfair things” had happened to US dairy farmers.
He also said that NAFTA trade rules between the two countries were a “complete and total disaster” for the US.
“Together, we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that more products are stamped with those wonderful words: ‘Made in the USA,'” the President said in a speech at a tool factory. “We’re using every tool at our disposal to restore the American Dream.”
After talking about his executive order, the President then set his sights on Canada’s dairy industry.
“We’re also going to stand up for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin…and that demands, really, immediately fair trade with all of our trading partners, and that includes Canada.”
“Because in Canada, some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers and others… What’s happened to you is very, very unfair. It’s another typical one-sided deal against the United States. And it’s not going to be happening for long.”
He continued: “… We’re going to call Canada, and we’re going to say, “What happened?” And they might give us an answer, but we’re going to get the solution, not just the answer, okay? Because we know what the solution is, alright? …We’ll get that done. We’re going to work on that very hard. We’re going to work on it immediately; in fact, starting today. It’s a terrible thing that happened to the farmers of Wisconsin.”
Since Wisconsin is one of America’s largest providers of dairy, there was no doubt that President Trump was playing up to the home crowd there.
However, he was also weighing in on an increasingly bitter trade war between Canada and the US over ultrafiltered milk, which is used in the production of cheese.
“At the root of the American dairy sector’s argument is the recent implementation of a new class of milk (Class 7) in Canada,” spokesperson Isabelle Bouchard wrote in a recent blog posting on the Dairy Farmers of Canada website.
“Unfortunately, their argument is filled with falsehoods and half-truths. Despite what has been said by the American dairy sector, Class 7 is a domestic policy, the sole purpose of which is to allow the Canadian dairy sector to be able to respond to a changing Canadian market environment.”
“It is wrong to use Canada as a scapegoat for the situation in the United States,” the post continued.
“We know that dairy producers in the US are going through tough times; however, incorrectly laying the blame on an unrelated Canadian domestic policy will not improve their situation.
“No matter how one views the situation, exports to a comparatively small Canadian market – one that is already filled with Canadian milk – are a drop in the bucket that will not solve the problems currently impacting the US dairy industry.”