ARLINGTON, VA -- A bipartisan group of 25 Senators today sent a letter identifying challenges with implementing several dairy-related provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Underscoring USMCA’s importance to the dairy industry, the letter asks the U.S. government to use USMCA’s enforcement measures to ensure full compliance with the trade deal.
led by Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), was sent to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It reads, in part:
“As negotiated, the USMCA will create new export opportunities for America’s dairy industry and creates an equitable playing field for American dairy exports in Mexico and Canada. Given the importance of these provisions to our dairy farmers and to American dairy exports, we ask that you use USMCA’s enforcement measures to hold our trading partners accountable to their trade commitments. It is imperative that Canada and Mexico deliver upon their agreed upon commitments related to dairy products.”
The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) commend the coalition of Senators for standing up for America’s dairy farmers, processors and exporters and pressing for fair and full implementation of USMCA’s dairy provisions.
“Canada has already begun implementing USMCA in a way that thwarts its market access promises and prevents U.S. dairy from making full use of the benefits that Congress and the Administration fought so hard to secure. There are also unanswered questions concerning how Mexico will translate its commitments to safeguard common name cheeses into action. These are unresolved concerns that affect everyday dairy farmers and workers across our industry. I appreciate Senator Smith and Senator Crapo’s proactive engagement and leadership on this letter underscoring that USMCA provides the tools necessary to take enforcement measures now,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC.
“Timely and complete enforcement of USMCA’s dairy-related provisions will allow America’s dairy industry to harness the full potential of this modernized trade agreement. This letter sends a strong message to Canada and Mexico: Efforts to maintain unjust trade practices or block market access will not be tolerated. This bipartisan support for fairer dairy trade in North America also demonstrates not only the importance of exports to America’s dairy farmers, but the key role that dairy plays in our national economy. Thank you, Senator Smith and Senator Crapo, for your leadership and support of a critical industry,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan coalition of 104 Representatives also sent a letter urging the U.S. government to fully enforce USMCA.
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.