In trade war with Trump, Canada should stop defending the indefensible on dairy products

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COMMENTARY

by Hugh Stephens

The Conversation
June 12, 2018

Donald Trump is a bare-knuckled, sharp-elbowed negotiator who instinctively goes for his opponent’s weakness. In Canada’s case, this weakness is our hypocritical and self-defeating defence of supply management, particularly in the dairy sector.

When Trump ignores Canada’s long-standing partnership with the United States but brings world attention to the nearly 300 per cent tariffs imposed on foreign dairy products, we know we have a problem.

For years Canada’s trade negotiators have had to enter discussions with a millstone around their necks. While seeking market opening opportunities for Canadian exports, they had to block any access to Canada’s supply-managed sectors (dairy, chicken and eggs).

Image credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

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