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TPP negotiations going on in Hawaii

Article-TPP negotiations going on in Hawaii

Pressure still on Canada to offer meaningful dairy access.

Trade ministers from countries involved in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will join chief negotiators on July 27 in a ministerial meeting in Hawaii. The meeting is scheduled to wrap up on July 31, but is open to the possibility that ministers could continue meeting past that date if it appears an agreement could be reached by doing so.

Reports have continued to indicate that Canada is not looking to back down on the U.S. demand of increased dairy market access, which former secretary of agriculture Clayton Yeutter, who also served as a U.S. Trade Representative, said could prevent a final deal from being closed in Hawaii.

Canada’s refusal on tariff reduction has also inspired some senators and national agriculture groups to urge USTR Ambassador Michael Forman to purse a final deal that does not include Canada, according to Steve Kopperud, executive vice president of Policy Directions.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) and ranking member Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) wrote a letter July 24 to Canadian ambassador Gary Doer outlining that Canada must agree to significantly expand market access for dairy products if they want their support for a final TPP agreement.

Wyden and Hatch said their support for a final TPP agreement that includes Canada is contingent on Canada’s ability to meet TPP’s high standards, including with respect to market access on dairy products. Nationally, the United States exports about $7 billion in dairy products annually, nearly half of which are destined for TPP countries. 

The senators said Canada has for decades protected its dairy market through a system that currently includes restrictive tariff rate quotas on dairy imports, charging prohibitive tariffs of 200 to more than 300% on imports that exceed the volume limits. Canada also maintains a host of nontariff barriers, including standards that favor the use of Canadian raw milk in cheese processing over U.S. milk powder.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Assn. has continued to urge its government to be founding member of the TPP talks, saying it could be a game-changer for Canada’s beef producers.

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