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

Bachrach nominated by NDP for federal election

The Smithers mayor won on the first ballot with 446 of 797 votes

Skeena Voices | Somewhere over the rainbow

Janet Johnston was given a BC Achievement Award for her role in LGBTQ2 rights

Woman in critical condition after ATV accident

A woman is in critical condition after an ATV crash on Matson… Continue reading

Crews extinguish mobile home fire in Thornhill

No injuries reported, cause under investigation

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

Most Read