Trump advisers press for dairy concessions ahead of Freeland’s arrival

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OTTAWA — Two of Donald Trump’s top lieutenants are turning up the heat on the Trudeau government to open up its protected supply-managed dairy industry as Canada returns to the NAFTA bargaining table.

The pressure comes one day after the U.S. president again blasted the Canadian dairy industry during his announcement of a trade agreement with Mexico that he said could replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump imposed a Friday deadline for Canada to come on board, which is when the administration plans to give Congress its mandatory 90-day notification of the new trade deal.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the president’s National Economic Council, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, said in separate interviews today that concessions from Canada on dairy are essential to getting a deal by Friday.

The Trudeau government has pledged to protect its supply management system, but Canada has opened up limited access to its dairy market in previous trade talks, including its comprehensive pact with the European Union.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s top negotiator and other senior officials are off to Washington today to resume talks with the U.S. and Mexico.

— follow @mblanchfield on Twitter

The Canadian Press

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