59562
133185

Canada  

U.S. butter imports way up

More Canadians have likely slathered their late-summer corncobs with American-made butter in recent years — and it had nothing to do with U.S. President Donald Trump's demands for more access to Canada's dairy market.

The country's protected market has been a key sticking point between Ottawa and Washington during the tense renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Throughout the process, Trump has made repeated calls for Canada to let in more American dairy products.

U.S. farmers recently enjoyed extra access to the Canadian market — and, in this instance, the opportunity came because of Canada's controversial protective system known as supply management.

Butter imports from the U.S. nearly quadrupled between 2015 and 2016 to help satisfy Canadians' sudden surge in demand for the creamy product that domestic producers couldn't immediately keep up with. Canada wasn't alone — butter sales saw strong growth in many parts of the world.

To satiate the rapidly expanding appetites of Canadian butter lovers, the federal government approved a request to temporarily open its doors to more imports above the usual quota. Due to proximity, lots of it rolled in from the U.S.

After shipping 2,275 tonnes of butter to its northern neighbour in 2015, the U.S. sold 8,266 tonnes here in 2016 and 8,672 tonnes last year, according to Statistics Canada. From 2008 to 2014, the figures show annual U.S. butter imports fluctuated between 1,069 and 4,482 tonnes.

The recent influx of American butter also boosted Canada's stockpiles, which expanded to 44,708 tonnes in July 2018 from 11,571 tonnes in January 2017.

Critics have long argued supply management leaves Canadians with fewer choices in the supermarket, leads to higher prices for consumers and stifles innovation in the industry.

When it comes to butter, some say the fact Canada had to increase U.S. imports in a time of need points to another key downside.

Domestic producers, they maintain, cannot respond quickly to surges in demand because they're hindered by the system's strict rules. There are also concerns that there's too much focus on the Canadian market, rather than a push to expand deeper into the global market.



More Canada News

Canada
133521
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill Webcam
57111
Recent Trending
Okanagan Oldies
133230
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada
132931



133665
133169