(Removes reference to Australia's cheese exports, paragraph 7)
By Benjamin Weir and Charlotte Greenfield
SYDNEY/WELLINGTON, April 19 Australia and New
Zealand dairy industry leaders said on Wednesday they would
support moves by the United States to draw the World Trade
Organization into a trade dispute with Canada, after President
Donald Trump said existing rules were unfair.
Canada's dairy farmers and processors, including Saputo Inc
and Parmalat Canada, struck a pricing
agreement in 2016 that industry groups in Australia, New
Zealand, the European Union, Mexico and the United States say
would price domestic milk ingredients for cheese-making below
cost, under-cutting their exports.
On a visit to the U.S. cheese-making state of Wisconsin on
Tuesday, Trump said he would "stand up for our dairy farmers"
adding that "in Canada some very unfair things have happened to
our dairy farmers and others".
Trump did not specify what parts of Canada's
tariff-protected dairy sector he wanted to change, nor what
measures he would take to make it happen, but his remarks
re-ignited calls for a complaint to the World Trade
The United States is the world's biggest cheese exporter
"I don't expect there would be many countries that would do
anything other than support a WTO action against Canada," said
Australian Dairy Farmers interim Chief Executive Officer John
McQueen in a telephone call.
New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay told Reuters in an
email that his government was "currently assessing the
WTO-consistency" of Canada's dairy industry policy, and had
raised concern with the Canadian government.
"Together with other dairy exporting countries, including
the U.S., we have questioned these policies at WTO Committee on
Agriculture meetings in Geneva as recently as last month,"
Malcolm Bailey, chairman of the Dairy Companies Association
of New Zealand, said his organisation was working with his
foreign ministry to gather information for a possible WTO
New Zealand, the second biggest non-Europe cheese exporter,
is "quite clearly building a coalition of those prepared to make
the case to the WTO", said Bailey.
"You've got the Americans, the Australians, the Mexicans who
are concerned about this."
(Writing by Byron Kaye; Editing by Robert Birsel)