Donald Trump calls Canada 'disgraceful' in row over protectionism

'Canada, what they've done to our dairy farm workers, it's a disgrace,' says Mr Trump

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President Donald Trump has called protectionist trade measures by the Canadian government "a disgrace."

"Canada, what they've done to our dairy farm workers, it's a disgrace," Mr Trump said on Thursday in the Oval Office.

The statement was part of larger comments on American trade deals that Mr Trump made while signing an executive order on steel imports.

"We're not going to let Canada take advantage [of the U.S.]," Trump told the group of reporters, claiming Canadian policies had hurt US timber and lumber jobs as well.

The claims echo sentiments Mr Trump expressed this week in Wisconsin, addressing employees of Snap-on Tools at a signing for the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive order.

“In Canada, some very unfair things have happened to our dairy farmers and others, and we're going to strategy working on that,” Mr Trump said in prepared remarks. He called the current arrangement a “one-sided deal,” and vowed to “work on it immediately.”

Canadian dairy producers recently decided to collectively lower their prices in order to compete with cheaper, American imports. About 70 dairy producers in both Wisconsin and New York are reportedly affected by the new policy.

Mr Trump has long voiced concerns about US-Canadian trade. This week, he reiterated his desire to negotiate or eliminate NAFTA, the agreement forming a bilateral trade bloc between the US, Mexico, and Canada.

“[NAFTA] has been very, very bad for our companies and for our workers, and we’re going to make some very big changes or we are going to get rid of NAFTA for once and for all,” Mr Trump said on Tuesday.

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