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

Juan de Fuca CRD director wins in a landslide

Mike Hicks elected for fourth time.

Merner set to run for federal Green Party

Victoria lawyer ran for Liberals in 2015

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Last chance to vote in 2018 municipal election

Polls close Saturday night at 8 p.m. for mayoral, councillor and school board

Two new faces on the Sooke School Board

Bob Beckett and Allison Watson become SD62 trustees

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Most Read