Specific provisions of concern include tariff rate quotas and enforcement of side letter agreements.

August 14, 2020

3 Min Read
MEXICO FALLS SHORT ON USMCA: Mexico's move away from agricultural biotechnology does not meet standards set in USMCA trade agreement.wildpixel/iStock/GettyImagesPlus

A bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers 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.

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.

Representatives Ron Kind (D., Wisc.), Tom Reed (R., N.Y.), Collin Peterson (D., Minn.), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R., Pa.), Anthony Brindisi (D., N.Y.), Russ Fulcher (R., Idaho), Xochitl Torres Small (D., N.M.), and Anthony Gonzalez (R., Ohio) led this effort. In total, 104 members of Congress signed the letter. 

Related:FEEDSTUFFS IN FOCUS: Vilsack says jury still out on USMCA, dairy exports

“As we see the USMCA dairy provisions implemented, we expect Canada and Mexico to be held accountable for their commitments to ensure our dairy farmers have a more level playing field,” said Peterson, who serves as the House Agriculture Committee chairman. “After a tough past few years, American dairy farmers need this agreement fully enforced, and I remain hopeful that the strong bipartisan support shown in this letter, and our partnership with the Administration, will provide some stability for the sector into the future.”

“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. 

Related:Canada already backpedaling on USMCA dairy provisions

“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. 

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