As Joe Biden and the Democratic Party majority in the House and Senate continue to face heat over rising consumer prices and a sudden baby food shortage sparked by Michigan plant closures and recalls, some liberals turn their fire on another target: Donald Trump .
Infant formula in the US is dominated by domestic manufacturers; Foreign manufacturers account for just a few percentage points of the total US baby food market share, largely due to the Food and Drug Administration’s strict standards for both content and labeling, which restrict many European companies from the market.
The former president has been criticized by some left-leaning figures on Twitter over a trade deal, the 2020 United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which set out new trade rules for doing business and trade across North America and imposed severe restrictions on Canada’s dairy sector, has long been a target of criticism from the US conservative right for its government-imposed price and import controls.
As part of the multinational trade deal signed during Mr Trump’s final year in office, the process of importing Canadian-made baby formula, one of the products specifically restricted by the trade deal, has added a new wave of bureaucratic hurdles. Tariffs on Canadian infant formula are high, about 17 percent, and those tariffs must continue to rise if exports reach a certain level, according to the USMCA.
“[T]The regulations in the USMCA’s Agriculture Addendum are confusing and costly [tariff rate quotas] on Canadian infant formula exports, and the United States imported no infant formula from Canada in 2021,” the Cato Institute noted last week, adding that unless some of these restrictions and red tape are removed, companies will have little incentive to change.
That prompted many left-leaning verified Twitter users to turn their fire on the former government over the 2020 trade deal.
But blaming Donald Trump for that outcome alone is unfair for a reason: There was a bipartisan agreement on the issue of restrictions on Canada’s dairy sector, and one of the loudest advocates on the issue was a Democrat, the Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer.
“New York’s dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the upstate economy, but unfortunately they have been pressured by the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis,” he explained in a June 2020 press release. “That’s why I’m calling [the Trump administration] To do everything in its power to ensure Canada honors its dairy trading obligations and eliminates its unfair and harmful pricing programs and practices that have unfairly prevented New York state dairy farmers from freely selling their produce — as in the new one Trade deal agreed with Canada, the USMCA.”
It also begs the question of why the FDA and the broader Biden administration haven’t done more to predict the shortage. This was a predictable problem, despite all the federal government’s excitement, given that Abbott Nutrition accounted for about 42 percent of the national infant formula market share, even counting foreign manufacturers, and the closure of a Michigan facility and recall of the infant formula it produced certainly had a certain something Influence on the overall offer. Combine this with the concept of panic buying, which US economists should be well acquainted with after the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as early as February a recipe for disaster was in the works.
Questioned by reporters during her final week at the White House on the matter, Press Secretary Jen Psaki seemed to betray some of the administration’s sense of being caught off guard by the situation when she suggested the FDA is working to fix “possible” shortages In the wake of the factory shutdown, thoughts and reports of empty shelves and desperate parents (particularly children with special dietary needs) have been circulating with increasing frequency for weeks.
Little did she know, however, that the agency’s concerns were linked to a deadly bacteria that the agency said was linked to the deaths of two infants. The company has contested this finding.
“The FDA issued a recall to ensure they are meeting their obligation to protect the health of Americans — including babies who have naturally received or ingested this formula — and to ensure safe products are available. That’s her job,” she told reporters.
“Ensuring availability is also a priority for the FDA, and they are working around the clock to fix any potential shortage,” added the outgoing secretary.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-baby-formula-shortage-b2084274.html Is Trump to blame for the lack of baby food?