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U.S. Dairy Backs American Ag Negotiators at WTO Ministerial

February 28, 2024

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) are backing efforts by U.S. negotiators to advance an agriculture work plan and oppose trade distorting proposals at the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial (MC13). NMPF and USDEC representatives are on the ground in Abu Dhabi, supporting and advising U.S. trade negotiators on agricultural priorities during the ongoing negotiations.

As with prior ministerials, there is the concern that a small group of countries will attempt to extract concessions on one issue by withholding support on other broadly supported provisions. While it is evident that most countries do not want the WTO to take a step backward, a select few members are leveraging unrelated issues to advance proposals that would expand agricultural trade distorting measures like public stockholding. USDEC and NMPF strongly support the U.S. government’s leadership in standing firm against any attempts to weaken trade disciplines.

“We should not allow one country to dictate the outcome of the negotiations in agriculture for concessions on other unrelated issues,” said Gregg Doud, president and CEO of NMPF. “We are privileged to have strong negotiators in Abu Dhabi who are defending against attempts to introduce additional trade distorting elements in the WTO. NMPF supports a holistic work plan on agriculture that includes an equal commitment to increasing market access and limiting domestic support.”

“The WTO is an important organization that has served its members well. We need to protect its important function in governing a rules-based trading system while also pursuing needed reforms, particularly to improve the dispute settlement mechanism,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “USDEC commends the U.S. negotiating team for their strong stance to defend U.S. interests and we encourage them to stand firm against any tradeoffs between agriculture and other sectors. We are also encouraged that WTO negotiations are highlighting the important role that trade has in addressing sustainability concerns, particularly given the U.S. dairy industry’s leadership in growing sustainable production and feeding the world.”

The WTO provides a rules-based trading system that provides stability and predictability for U.S. dairy exporters. The system includes provisions that reduce trade barriers and a dispute settlement mechanism for holding member countries accountable to their obligations, allowing U.S. dairy products to compete globally on a level playing field. MC13 provides a forum for members to deliberate reforms to the WTO framework.