Dairy Industry Applauds USTR Decision to Pursue USMCA Dispute Settlement Case Enforcing Dairy Market Access Obligations in Canada
Mark O'Keefe, USDEC
Arlington, VA - The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) praised today's announcement that U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has initiated a U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dispute settlement proceeding over Canada's administration of dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs).
USDEC and NMPF have been calling for full enforcement of Canada's trade obligations given Canada's ongoing refusal to change how it handles dairy market access under USMCA. Initiating an official dispute settlement will, under USMCA rules, establish a panel to determine whether Canada has been violating its trade obligations. If the panel determines a lack of compliance, the U.S. would then be granted the right to impose retaliatory duties if Canada fails to fix its problematic TRQ administrative practices.
"On behalf of America's dairy farmers, we thank Ambassador Katherine Tai for initiating the USMCA dispute settlement process by requesting the formation of a panel to examine Canada's failure to provide access to its dairy TRQs in accordance with USMCA," said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO. "Canada has failed to take the necessary action to comply with its obligations under USMCA by inappropriately restricting access to its market. This needs to stop and we are thankful that USTR intends to make that happen."
"Our appreciation goes to the Biden Administration for moving forward with a dispute settlement action against Canada's administration of dairy TRQs," said Krysta Harden, USDEC President and CEO. "We have had long-standing and well-founded concerns that Canada undermines its trade agreements when it comes to dairy. Our trading partners need to know that failure to meet their agricultural trade commitments with the United States will result in robust action to defend U.S. rights - today's action demonstrates just that. The expansion of dairy market access opportunities is critical for our industry. Today's action is a critical step toward maximizing current export opportunities while sending a strong message in defense against the erection of future barriers in Canada and other markets as well."
USDEC and NMPF have carefully monitored Canada's actions regarding its USMCA dairy commitments and have urged the Administration and Congress to make this a priority as soon as USMCA entered into force. The organizations highlighted for USTR and the U.S. Department of Agriculture the inconsistencies between Canada's dairy TRQ allocations and Canada's USMCA obligations. In a detailed filing submitted to the administration, NMPF and USDEC provided the agencies with a specific review of the Canadian TRQ system and an explanation of the negative impacts resulting from them.
The concerns raised by USDEC and NMPF have been echoed by a broad bipartisan coalition of members of Congress. Most recently, several leading members of the House Ways and Means and Agriculture Committees joined together on a bipartisan message to USTR urging further enforcement action and multiple members of Congress shared a similar message during Ambassador Tai's trade oversight hearings in May. Prior to that, Senators broached the topic with USTR during Ambassador Tai's confirmation hearing process. Last August, 104 Representatives sent a letter to USTR and USDA asking for Canada to be held accountable to its trade promises while a letter in the Senate was signed by 25 Senators. USDEC and NMPF commend the continued engagement of so many members of Congress on this important issue.
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.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), 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.