NYS Exposed: Local companies could soon get fair treatment in international marketplace

August 01, 2018 06:08 AM

Two local companies, a combined $50-million in lost revenue, and a huge portion of their businesses gone. All of this is a result of Canadian tariffs on dairy products.

News10NBC has been tracking their impact for over a year. 


"The way that it happened, the thing that goes through my mind is anger at first, because they're basically not abiding by World Trade Organization rules," said Kevin Ellis, the CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients near Auburn, New York. It's an international company. "We export now into nearly 40 different countries."

So, when Canada slapped a nearly 300-percent tariff on milk powder and then severely undercut pricing on the global scale, the impact was devastating.

"In the matter of four days, we lost $30,000,000 of annual revenue." 

And they're not alone. Genesee County's O-AT-KA Milk Products lost an estimated $20-million in annual business.

"We want fair and free trade, which we don't have right now with Canada," said Congressman Chris Collins. 

Last week, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a congressional hearing that he believes a revised trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, known as NAFTA, could be done by the end of August.

"My hope is that before very long we'll have a conclusion with respect to Mexico and as a result of that, Canada will come in and begin to compromise," said Representative Lighthizer. 

New York Senator Chuck Schumer spoke directly with the Representative Lighthizer last week, pleading that Canada must be forced to take down what he calls "a dairy wall" and begin to allow local milk producers to compete fairly in international markets.

"Lighthizer told me that he is definitely on board and that when we re-negotiate NAFTA, we will make sure that Canada backs off this," said Senator Schumer. 

And the need to be recognized on both sides of the aisle, including by President Trump.

"President Trump is the first one who has now identified that the cheating and the tariffs that Canada has put on our milk products are not in accordance with anything called free trade," added Congressman Collins. 

"For a year, we've struggled to find new customers to replace the Canadian customers that we had," said Ellis. "I'm very hopeful, that something is going to happen because this is the one issue I see Chuck Schumer and Donald Trump agreeing on."

Last week, President Trump issued $12-billion in emergency aid to struggling farmers, but Cayuga Milk Ingredients say they likely won't qualify despite huge loses in revenue.


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