Dairy Organizations Lament Impact of Canada’s Barriers to Dairy Trade as North American Summit Begins
Mark O'Keefe, USDEC
Chris Galen, NMPF
ARLINGTON, VA - Today the United States, Canada and Mexico kicked off the North American Leaders' Summit in Ottawa. One topic of key importance in the trading relationship between the United States and Canada has been Canada's persistent undermining of U.S. dairy export access, a pattern that has cost American dairy farmers and processors hundreds of millions of dollars. Most recently, Canada has instituted a new pricing policy at the provincial level that is designed to discourage Canadian processors from using imported dairy products.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) expressed appreciation for the Obama Administration's attention to the harmful impact on U.S. dairy exports caused by Canada's continual erection of nontariff trade barriers. The two organizations underscored the importance of high-level discussions this week on Canada's actions on dairy, and how they hurt the U.S.-Canada trading relationship.
"America's dairy farmers rely on exports to provide a home for the equivalent of one day's worth of milk production each week," said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. "When other countries disingenuously use policies and regulations to block those sales - especially in light of previously negotiated free trade agreements - the negative impact is felt on the farm. This is particularly damaging in tough years like this when milk supplies exceed demand. We hope President Obama will continue to hold our trading partners accountable, particularly those with whom we're preparing to deepen our trade ties, such as Trans-Pacific Partnership members."
Tom Suber, President of USDEC, echoed that point: "U.S. companies have made investments here at home, adding more jobs and expanding manufacturing facilities, to meet the demands of global buyers - including those in Canada. Our industry recognizes that we need to play by the rules - it's only right that the U.S. insist that others do so, as well."
NMPF and USDEC both support the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both organizations, however, have stressed the importance of ensuring that the agreement works in practice as envisioned on paper and the importance of Canada's compliance with existing obligations in achieving that result.
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, Va., develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of U.S. dairy producers and the cooperatives they collectively own. The members of NMPF's cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S, milk supply, making NMPF the voice of nearly 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF's activities, visit www.nmpf.org.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Its mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and overseas in Mexico, South America, Asia, Middle East and Europe. The U.S. Dairy Export Council prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital status, military status, and arrest or conviction record. www.usdec.org.