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Ahead of Talks, NMPF Worked with Congress on Appeals for a Balanced Deal on Dairy

August 4, 2015

Leading up to the Hawaii negotiations, NMPF worked with Congress on three separate written appeals to increase U.S. dairy farmers’ access to foreign markets and achieve a balanced outcome in any Pacific Rim trade agreement. 

On July 15, a bipartisan group of 21 House members warned Canada that it risks being left out of the massive trade pact if it does not allow more imports of U.S. dairy products. “It will be difficult for us to support Canada’s inclusion in TPP if significant new dairy access is not part of the deal,” the House members wrote in a letter to Canada’s ambassador to the United States, Gary Doer. 

The letter was spearheaded by Representatives Reid Ribble (R-WI), Ron Kind (D-WI), David Valadao (R-CA) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA). Among the signers were Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Mike Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and Pat Tiberi, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee’s Trade Subcommittee.

Nine days later, the Senate Finance Committee’s leadership sent a similar letter to Doer. Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and senior Democrat Ron Wyden (D-OR) said Canada’s ability to “commit to significant and commercially meaningful market access for all remaining agricultural products, including dairy, will have a significant impact on Congress’ view of the final agreement.” 

Finally, on July 24, a bipartisan group of 22 senators asked the Obama administration to increase access for U.S. dairy products into Canada and Japan as part of any final TPP agreement. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, the senators urged that the United States secure significant market access benefits across all dairy products, particularly into Japan and Canada.  

One-third of the Senate Finance Committee, including Ranking Member Wyden, was among the signers of that letter, spearheaded by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Mike Crapo (R-ID).

NMPF praised all three congressional appeals, saying they underscored the need for the TPP to deliver significant new market access for U.S. dairy exports, in order to balance any additional imports to the U.S. from New Zealand.