The U.S. dairy industry told the Senate Finance Committee’s trade subcommittee today that the 2010 U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement has further strengthened U.S. dairy exports to the Korean market, even though it is not yet fully implemented.
At the same time, Shawna Morris, vice president for trade for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), said a new and growing type of trade barrier involving common food names has emerged that is restricting access to the Korean market for key U.S. cheeses.
“(Korea’s restrictions on the use of several common cheese names) are the direct result of their separate free trade agreement with the European Union,” Morris, shown at right, testified. “In a nutshell, the European Union has been leaning on countries around the world to block imports of products by confiscating common food names and reserving them exclusively for cheese producers in their member countries.”
The U.S.-Korea free trade agreement eliminated nearly all Korean tariffs on America’s dairy exports. Morris said even though the agreement has only been in place since 2012, and its full impact is still years away, U.S. dairy exports to Korea in 2013 more than doubled the average of the three previous years.
Morris said the Korea FTA’s dairy provisions could be a good model for the Pacific trade liberalization agreement now being negotiated with Japan, Canada and eight other countries. “We hope that Trans-Pacific Partnership will result in an agreement that we can support as robustly as we have supported the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement,” she testified.