Is Trump to blame for the milk shortage?

Joe Biden and the majority of Democrats in the House and Senate continue to be heated by rising consumer prices and a sudden shortage of infant formula triggered by factory closures and recalls mainly in Michigan. .

In the United States, infant formula is dominated by domestic manufacturers. Foreign manufacturers account for only a few percent of the overall U.S. infant market share. This is due to the strict Food and Drug Administration standards for both content and labeling that limit many European companies on the market.

The former president faced criticism from some leftists on Twitter for the 2020 U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade agreement that enacted new trade rules for business and trade across North America and placed strong restrictions on the United States. There is. Canada’s dairy sector has long been a target of criticism on the conservative right in the United States for its government-imposed price and import controls.

As part of a multinational trade agreement signed in Trump’s last year in office, a new form of bureaucracy has been added to the importation of Canadian milk powder, one of the products specifically restricted by the trade agreement. Tariffs on Canadian infant formula are high at around 17%, and when exports reach a certain level, the USMCA will require a further increase in those duties.

“[T]The provisions in the USMCA’s agricultural annex are confusing and costly. [tariff rate quotas] The Cato Institute commented on Canada’s exports of infant formula last week and said the United States will not import infant formula from Canada in 2021.

This has prompted many left-leaning authenticated Twitter users to ignite the former administration over a 2020 trade deal.

But it is not fair to blame only Donald Trump for this result. There is one specific reason. There was a bipartisan agreement on restrictions on Canada’s dairy sector, and one of the loudest voices on the issue was Democrat Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

In a June 2020 press release, he said, “New York’s dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the upstate economy, but unfortunately they are under pressure from the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.” [the Trump administration] We will do everything we can to eliminate unfair and harmful pricing programs and practices that unreasonably prevent Canada from complying with its dairy trade obligations and allowing Upstate New York dairy farmers to sell their products freely as agreed in a new trade agreement with Canada. . , USMCA.”

There is also the question of why the FDA and the broader Biden administration haven’t done more to predict the shortage. This was a predictable issue given the closures and formula recalls in Michigan, where, despite all the federal fuss, Abbott Nutrition accounts for about 42% of the U.S. infant formula market share, including foreign manufacturers. It was clear that what was produced would have some effect on the overall supply. A prescription for the panic buying concept and disaster that US economists should be familiar with after the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic was working in February.

Spokesperson Jen Psaki, who was questioned by reporters on the matter during her final week at the White House, appeared to betray the administration’s sense of embarrassment when she suggested that the FDA was working to address a “possible” shortage. Photos and reports of empty shelves and thoughts of desperate parents (particularly those with children with special dietary needs) circulated for weeks and increased in frequency because of the factory closures.

But she didn’t say the agency’s concerns were related to deadly bacteria the agency said was linked to the deaths of two infants. The company disputed this finding.

“The FDA, of course, has issued a recall to ensure the use of safe products and fulfill their obligations to protect the health of Americans, including babies receiving or taking this formula. That’s their job,” he told reporters.

“Ensuring availability is also FDA’s top priority and we are working around the clock to address possible shortfalls,” the outgoing secretary added.

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