Dairy farmers operate in a regulated market in Canada, an irritant in trade relations with other countries. (Black Press files)

Milk and chicken Donald Trump’s latest Canadian trade targets

Trade battle may have some benefits for B.C. in short term

B.C. businesses are watching closely as Canada’s trade dispute with the U.S. heats up, with the latest threat directed at protected dairy, egg and poultry production.

Soon after extending its “national security” tariffs on imported steel and aluminum to include Canada, U.S. president Donald Trump took to Twitter to warn of demands for increased access to the Canadian agriculture market.

“Canada has all sorts of trade barriers on our agricultural products,” Trump tweeted. “Not acceptable!”

Canada’s government-protected dairy, egg and poultry market has been a trade irritant for the U.S. and other countries for years. Only minimal foreign access to those markets was given up in the recently concluded Canada-European Union trade deal, and the Trans Pacific Partnership discussions that Canada has been involved in.

There is an upside to the trade war that has seen Canada retaliate with tariffs on such items as maple syrup and toilet paper, said Dan Baxter, director of policy development at the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. But it is a temporary one that some are calling a “patriotic effect,” where consumers start seeking out Canadian products to show support.

“That’s a very short-term uptick benefit,” Baxter said. “The overall long-term trend when you get into these kinds of trade wars, and of course the Canadian government using very understandable counter-measures, ultimately that hurts consumers and businesses on both sides of the border.”

Rio Tinto Alcan’s recently modernized smelter at Kitimat is faced with a 10-per-cent tariff on sales to the U.S., which Baxter said is likely a side effect of Trump’s focus on its trade imbalance with China.

Canada has had an integrated aluminum market with the U.S. going back 100 years, not only for manufacturing but as part of its NATO and NORAD defence agreements, and before that its cooperation during World War II, he said.

Trudeau was asked about farm subsidies in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press program on Sunday, and he acknowledged that Canadian negotiators were “moving towards flexibility” on milk and other products.

“I think they want a better deal on their auto sector from Mexico and I think they want more access on certain agricultural products like dairy in Canada,” Trudeau said.

Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Tuesday the president is leaning towards negotiating separate deals with Canada and Mexico.

Baxter said Canada has provided some access to its agricultural market in the EU and TPP agreements, but received substantial access to foreign markets in exchange. It’s “ironic” that Trump pulled the U.S. out of the TPP, when it gave the U.S. additional farm products access to Canada that he is concerned about now.

Just Posted

Seventh annual Campagnolo Lecture coming to Courtenay

Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould to speak

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

School for students on Hornby Island ‘normal as can be’: portables expected in new year

While it’s not an ideal situation, the return to school for students… Continue reading

Christmas comes early for residents of Cumberland Lodge

It’s Christmas in September at Cumberland Lodge. The Rotary Club of Cumberland… Continue reading

Big Beach Cleanup builds awareness of ocean debris impacts

First two cleanup days brought in 40 cubic yards of plastic and styrofoam

Bear makes midnight front porch visit in Campbell River

A black bear paid a Campbell River family a midnight visit last… Continue reading

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Highway 19 paving between Parksville and Courtenay

Delays in both directions beginning Sept. 25

Legal society poster seeks complainants against two cops on Downtown Eastside

Pivot Legal Society became aware of allegations made against the officers after a video circulated

Jury to deliberate in case of Calgary man accused of murdering woman

Curtis Healy could be convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter

House arrest for man who abused disabled B.C. woman, then blamed her

‘Groomed complainant’ and ‘violated position of trust,’ judge says

Liberals want to know what Canadians think of legalized weed

The federal government will comb social media for Canadians’ pot-related behaviour

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen boasts of aiding Mueller investigation

Cohen could provide information on whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russians

Landslide forces evacuations of Philippine villages

More than 1,200 people in villages near the landslide-hit area were forcibly moved by authorities

Most Read