Trump, Schumer agree: new Canada policy will hurt NY dairy farmers

Amid the acrimony in Washington, New York’s senior U.S. senator heartily agreed with President Trump on one point this week: that new trade policies soon to take effect in Canada will hurt American dairy farmers by restricting the import of their milk.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, leader of the Senate Democratic minority, praised Trump on Wednesday for vowing to “fight for our dairy farmers” and solve the looming problem. And on Friday, he followed up with another press release after speaking with the president about the issue.

“It is an unwise policy that violates our agreements and hurts our farmers, and we agreed to work together to immediately address the issue,” Schumer said. “Since Canada’s damaging policies also impact dairy farms in Wisconsin, I suggested reaching out to Speaker Ryan. The three of us, in conjunction with Senator Tammy Baldwin and other stakeholders, will develop a comprehensive plan to tackle this issue.”

The issue also provided common ground for the Republican president and New York’s Democratic governor. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a statement on Tuesday, said the equivalent of 70 New York dairy farms could lose a key market and about $50 million in sales as of May 1 as a result of Canadian policy change. Dairy is the state’s biggest farming sector, employing 20,000 people and generating $2.5 billion in sales in 2015, according to the press release.

“New York’s dairy farms are essential to the strength of our agricultural economy, and these regulations are already having a devastating effect on our dairy farmers and their families,” Cuomo said in the statement. “With our growing concern that even more of our milk producers and our processors will be affected, I urge the federal government to call on Canada to reconsider these harmful regulations and continue our courteous, mutually beneficial trade relations.”

Schumer commended Trump on a second trade issue last week, after the president demanded that the Commerce Department investigate steel imports. Subsidized steel imports – particularly those originating China – are plaguing America, and this is a good first step,” he said on Wednesday. “But it is critical that any study is followed by strong action, especially when many powerful special interests will oppose any real change. I hope the President will work with us to make real change a reality.”

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