Canadian ambassador: Without USMCA, dairy classes stay in place
April 8, 2019
Ambassador of Canada to the United States David MacNaughton said critics of the proposed new U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement need to remember that until the three countries all approve the agreement, the Canadian dairy classes and other regulations to which Americans have objected will remain in place.
In a speech to the North American Agricultural Journalists' annual meeting, MacNaughton said, "When I hear the agreement is in trouble, I question what those who do not like it are going to do if it does not pass?"
Without the agreement, he noted, Canada will continue to have the dairy classes American dairy farmers have said create an unfair playing field.
"For those who say it it not perfect, I agree, but I don't think there is any question whatsoever there is an improvement on the status quo," he added.
But MacNaughton also repeated statements by other officials from his country that Canada insists the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum be removed before Canada approves the agreement.
And he said that Canada will soon "refresh" the list of U.S. products on which it has placed retaliatory tariffs.
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MacNaughton declined to say exactly which products would be subject to the increased tariffs but noted the United States exports a lot of apples, pork, wine and ethanol to Canada.
MacNaughton said he hopes that the agreement is ready for the Canadian Parliament to consider before members leave to campaign for re-election in June.
If the agreement is unresolved when the campaigns begin, "the discussion of our relationship with the United States of America will be a central part of the campaign and it won't be a positive discussion," he said.
MacNaughton expressed frustration that U.S. officials are asking Canada for help on conflicts with Venezuela, Iran and other places while claiming that imports of Canadian steel and aluminum interfere with U.S. national security.
"It is incongruous and inconsistent" and produces "irritation and befuddlement," he said.
Canada not only wants to maintain its relationship with the United States, but to make it stronger, he said.
"We face international threats that are unprecedented. If our two nations can't get along, what does that say to the rest of the world?" ❖