Trump vows to solve dairy dispute with Canada

Canada's dairy industry is officially on U.S. President Donald Trump's radar.

Trump said during a speech in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday that Canada has been "very unfair" to dairy farmers and "we're going to start working on that".

The National Milk Producers Federation says about 15 percent of dairy production in the United States is exported with one-third of the exports — in the form of powdered milk, cheese and whey protein — going to Mexico.

"Canada does not accept the contention that Canada's dairy policies are the cause of financial loss for dairy farmers in the United States", Ambassador David MacNaughton said in a letter to the governors of Wisconsin and NY that was released Tuesday night in rebuttal to Trump's surprise criticism of Canada earlier in the day.

Standing up for dairy farmers in Wisconsin "demands fair trade with all of our trading partners", Trump said, "and that includes Canada".

"To use a phrase that has recently come out of the U.S., Wisconsin farmers are using 'alternative facts, '" Isabelle Bouchard, the director of communications and government relations at the industry group Dairy Farmers of Canada, told the Washington Post.

Trump last week promised "pleasant surprises" from planned renegotiations of NAFTA, an agreement he's called the worst deal in USA history.

LISTEN: Could an end to supply management be good for Canada?

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After years of American farmers sending their ultra-filtered milk north of the border without being subject to tariffs, Ontario dairy farmers agreed last year to sell ultra-filtered milk to Canadian processors, such as Saputo Inc. and Parmalat Canada Inc., at prices competitive with global rates.

President Donald Trump prepares to speak at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, April 6, 2017, after the USA fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Thursday night in retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians.

The dairy dispute comes at a sensitive time for U.S. NY exported more to Canada in 2016 than any country in the world. "The Wisconsin people are trying to find an enemy - when in reality, the problem they have is that they're overproducing".

"It is important that we work together to grow the middle class, and not lay blame where it does not belong", MacNaughton writers. He suggested it has stalled his attempt to renegotiate NAFTA.

The Trump administration has yet to give Congress a required 90-day notification that it plans to open negotiations on Nafta with Canada and Mexico.

"The whole thing is ridiculous".

"We're going to make some very big changes", he said.

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