Co-ops, Processors Demands Access to Japanese, Canadian Markets in Trade Deal
June 10, 2014
If Japan and Canada renege on pledges to open their markets to U.S. dairy products, don’t count on our support for the Trans-Pacific trade pact. That’s the message nearly 40 cooperatives and dairy processing companies – all members of NMPF or the U.S. Dairy Export Council – sent to the Obama administration in early June.
NMPF and USDEC initiated the united industry message to underscore the need for comprehensive access to Japanese and Canadian markets in any final Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The message – in the form of letters to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – came on the heels of Japanese statements that it would not agree to abolish tariffs on key agricultural products, including dairy. The ambitious trade agreement has been under discussion for several years.
“Dairy industry support of the TPP is not unconditional,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “If access to our products is not assured by Japan and Canada, we will find it difficult to support the final agreement. In addition, we could re-examine our support for fast-track TPP approval in Congress.”
Tom Suber, President of USDEC, added: “…it is critical that Japanese and Canadian participation in TPP be meaningful and comprehensive across all dairy products. It is entirely unacceptable to have such sizable, sophisticated economies refusing to undertake the necessary openness that they agreed to upon entering TPP.”
In addition to urging U.S. negotiators to remain focused on opening up the Japanese and Canadian markets, the dairy organizations stressed the importance of addressing the lingering impacts of New Zealand government policies that have advantaged the country’s leading dairy firm at the expense of other dairy exporters.