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Trump’s trade war hurts dairy farmers

During last week’s debate, Vice President Mike Pence mentioned an improved dairy market because of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the new North American Free Trade Agreement.

It should be noted that the USMCA, for farmers, was similar to deals with Mexico and Canada as in the Trans Pacific Partnership or TPP. The TPP was negotiated partly by President George W. Bush and finalized by the Obama administration in February 2016. While’s it’s true that Trump’s deal opened up some markets in Canada for Wisconsin dairy farmers, the improvement of the USMCA over the TPP was minimal — equal to the amount of milk produced by just a handful of average Wisconsin dairy farms. Wisconsin lost 818 dairy farms in 2019, alone.

Over the last three years the “trade war” with China resulted in a large decrease in the United State’s share of China’s dairy imports. China’s population of 1.4 billion people was expanding its dairy consumption while we lost out.

Carlton Austin, Fennimore


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