Enforcement of USMCA Dairy Provisions Key, Bipartisan Letter Urges Action
Luke Waring, USDEC
ARLINGTON, VA -- A bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers today sent a letter urging the U.S. government to proactively enforce the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement's (USMCA) dairy-related provisions. This letter is being applauded by the U.S. dairy industry, as the benefits that USMCA secures for America's dairy farmers, processors and exporters will only be realized if the deal is fully enforced.
Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Tom Reed (R-NY), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Glenn "GT" Thompson (R -PA), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) led this effort. In total, 104 members of Congress signed the letter.
"A strong demand for U.S. dairy exports abroad drives economic growth and creates jobs here at home. USMCA is designed to allow the U.S. industry to fulfill this demand from two of our largest dairy customers and we cannot allow Canada or Mexico to undermine the important gains secured in this trade deal. We are working alongside Congress, the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure Canada and Mexico are held accountable to their trade commitments," said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.
According to the International Trade Commission, if USMCA is implemented as negotiated, U.S. dairy exports are projected to increase by more than $314 million a year.
"The support for today's bipartisan letter demonstrates the incredible impact the U.S. dairy industry has across the country, supporting our rural economies and fulfilling an essential role in feeding America. USMCA is a modernized trade deal that represents new opportunities for our farmers and processors after years of rural recession and the new challenges presented by the current crisis. We must utilize USMCA's enforcement mechanisms to bring home its hard-fought wins for America's dairy farmers," said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation.
Specific provisions of concern to the U.S. dairy industry highlighted in this letter include Canada's administration of its dairy Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQ), the full and transparent elimination of Classes 6 and 7 and related dairy pricing program disciplines, and the enforcement of the side letter agreements with Mexico that protect market access for U.S. common names cheeses. Urgent enforcement is needed as Canada and Mexico have already demonstrated reluctance to adhere to their trade obligations, as exhibited by Canada's recently announced TRQ allocations that run counter to the intent of USCMA to expand access to the Canadian dairy market.
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.
The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) is an independent, international non-profit alliance whose goal is to work with leaders in agriculture, trade and intellectual property rights to foster the adoption of high standards and model geographical indication guidelines throughout the world. Those interested in joining can find information at www.CommonFoodNames.com.