The struggling dairy trade relationship between Canada and the United States has once again grabbed media attention.
The latest move in the trade battle between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saw Trump retaliate this week with threats of tariffs on the Canadian dairy sector. This has pushed the debate about whether to maintain or revise Canada’s dairy supply management system to the forefront.
The University of Guelph has experts on the topic in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics. All three are available for media interviews.
Prof. Sylvanus Kwaku Afesorgbor said it’s important for Canada to weigh the pros and cons of the current dairy supply management system, and suggests it may be time for a revision. An expert in agricultural trade and development, he said that although the system allows Canadian farmers to prosper, it may be unfairly inflating the grocery bills of all Canadians. Afesorgbor has been featured in BNN, Canadian Business and Huffington Post as well as other media outlets across the country.
Prof. Mike von Massow, a food economist and expert on Canadian trade, said dairy supply management is a sensitive issue with the U.S. and that both the Canadian and American economies support their dairy sectors, but in different ways. The Trans-Pacific Partnership did provide for increased access to the Canadian dairy market, but Trump abandoned this deal, he added. Von Massow said Canadians would argue that the Americans have unfairly protected their softwood lumber market with high tariffs, not mentioned in recent discussions about removing tariffs. His comments on trade have been featured by media across Canada, including the National Post and NPR.
Prof. Alfons Weerksink, an expert in agricultural policy, said U.S. producers are ramping up production for export at a time when the market is already saturated. American farmers’ desperation for further foreign market access has encouraged Trump to put pressure on Canada to dismantle our system, he added. The introduction of new Canadian prices for some dairy products in 2016, mainly ingredients used to produce cheese, yogurt and ice cream, hurt U.S. producers, said Weersink. In a CBC story, he said American farmers are experiencing low returns and are looking for any way to increase demand.