U.S. Negotiators Must Prioritize TPP Market Access Gains for U.S. Dairy Industry, Not for Other Countries, Dairy Groups Urge

Release date: December 04,2014
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The U.S. dairy industry advised top U.S. government agricultural trade negotiators that their efforts on any final Pacific Rim free trade agreement must put access to foreign markets for U.S. dairy farmers and processors first, and avoid pressure from other countries to regionalize all new market access opportunities in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) made the point in letters sent today to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

As TPP negotiations head into their final stage, the dairy organizations expressed concern that industries in competing countries are counting on the United States to deliver export gains for all, rather than relying on their own governments to secure concessions in the trade agreement. “It is crucial,” USDEC President Tom Suber said, “for the U.S. to prioritize delivery of benefits to our dairy industry, not other TPP countries.” 

As a case in point, the three groups cited the recently concluded Japan-Australia FTA, which does little to open agricultural markets and instead aims to put the burden on U.S. negotiators to win agricultural concessions for all in the TPP. 

“The Japan-Australia FTA is an excellent example of the negative impact such a dynamic can have on U.S. interests,” NMFP President and CEO Mulhern said. “Our competitors in other TPP countries must work with their own governments to secure market access rather than insisting that any gains secured by the U.S. in challenging areas such as agriculture be made broadly available to all.” 

The dairy organizations applauded U.S. efforts to gain market access through TPP for U.S. dairy products in countries including Japan and Canada. They stressed that no tariff line should be left untouched in this agreement.

“We believe the negotiators will continue to push forward and leave no stone unturned in their negotiations with Japan and Canada,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. 

The joint letter was sent in advance of a key meeting of the chief TPP negotiators in Washington next week. 

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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 U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) 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. 

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $125 billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found at www.idfa.org.