Even as he continued to blast Canadian dairy tariffs, President Trump said on Tuesday that “we’re getting there” in negotiations for the new NAFTA.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was quick to say he's not a NAFTA negotiator but he repeatedly told reporters during a visit to Prince Edward Island that "it is not our desire to do away with" Canada's supply management system for dairy – if Canada does a better job of managing the supply. "They can't use the supply management system to negatively affect our producers south of the border," said Perdue during a teleconference.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is in Canada for a bilateral meeting today with Canadian Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay on “issues of shared importance in agriculture.” At the same time, NAFTA negotiations seem to be gaining new footing.
President Trump has repeatedly attacked the Canadian dairy industry with the aim of "wiping out dairy farmers here at home," said Dairy Farmers of Canada on Monday. Meanwhile, U.S. and Canadian farm groups urged government leaders "to engage in positive discourse that protects the strong trade ties that benefit American and Canadian farmers alike."
The third-most populous province in Canada discriminates unfairly against U.S. wine, said the Trump administration in asking the World Trade Organization to rule on retail wine sales in British Columbia. The issue of wine sales in grocery stores has been raised in negotiations over the new NAFTA as well.
The U.S. dairy industry launched the “Got Jobs?” campaign on Monday to highlight the importance of the dairy sector and build support for dairy exports, which account for about 14 percent of U.S. milk production.
President Trump is a maverick when it comes to international relations, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday while assuring farm-state senators that successful negotiations would resolve the threat of a trade war.
China threatened to put 25 percent tariffs on U.S. farm exports "because they think it hits me," President Trump said on Monday, but "we'll make it up to them (farmers) and in the end they're going to be much stronger than they are now." Deputy Agriculture Secretary Steve Censky, at a separate appearance, said the USDA was considering options that include purchase of surplus commodities to prop up prices.
Nearly twice as many producers believe there is a risk of a trade war that will significantly damage farm exports as say that risk is low, according to a Purdue University poll of farmers and ranchers.
A growing number of farmers and rural advocates say President Trump's trade and rural infrastructure proposals would further damage the struggling farm economy, despite his vow to boost rural America through renewed investment.