U.S. agriculture chief says NAFTA deal must end Canada’s milk protein scheme

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Canada must end its low-price milk proteins policy to succeed in a U.S.-Canadian deal to update north of manchester American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

Canada has encouraged overproduction and flooded export markets for milk proteins included in cheese and yogurt, hurting U.S. dairy farmers, Perdue said during an interview aired on Sunday on C-SPAN television.

“Our farmers don’t get the Canadian markets as our biological forebears have access to us. Class 7 may need to go. It can’t be renamed something or called something more important,” Perdue said when inquired about dairy concessions must reach a NAFTA deal, referring to a new milk class created last season by Canada to price milk ingredients that include protein concentrates, skim milk and get powder.

“It ensured that they export milk solids relating to the world market and below prices that cut into our possibility of our dairy individuals have access to that world market,” Perdue said.

Canada’s closed, $16 billion dairy companies are among the last sticking points in talks between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, which split on Friday without getting a deal.

Talks are anticipated to resume after Lighthizer travels to Brussels for trade talks with European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on Monday.

A spokesman for Freeland was not able to immediately be reached for discuss Perdue’s remarks.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow yesterday said milk was the key issue waiting in the way of a NAFTA deal.

In a meeting with Canada’s Global News network published on Sunday, Freeland declined to go about specific issues with the talks and noted that Kudlow is “away from the negotiating table.” Freeland added that to quickly attain a NAFTA deal, “It’s planning to take flexibility on every side.”

Freeland said on Friday she and Lighthizer were making “wonderful progress” in predicts save NAFTA amid increasing Canadian optimism which a deal can be telephoned. President Donald Trump has struck a trade contend with Mexico and threatened to push ahead without Canada, moving that would kill NAFTA, which covers $1.2 trillion in trade between your three countries, and further spook financial markets.

Perdue said on C-SPAN that Lighthizer has been “very clear” for the need for the Class 7 pricing system being repealed.

Asked regardless of whether would be gone from the NAFTA deal, he explained, “I think it should be. I think it will be gone.”

In April 2019, Trump nearly withdrew from NAFTA after becoming angered through the plight of Wisconsin dairy farmers whose milk protein exports to Canada seemed to be cut off because of the Class 7 pricing scheme. Trump chosen to renegotiate NAFTA instead.

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