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Congress Demands Canada Meet its USMCA Dairy Commitments, Earning Dairy’s Praise

April 5, 2022

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) expressed their deep appreciation for robust Congressional support on ensuring Canada fully honors its U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) dairy market access commitments. Today several leading members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack calling on the administration to reject Canada’s recent dairy proposals and insist on real reform.

Last month, Canada proposed inconsequential changes to its dairy tariff-rate quota (TRQ) allocations after a USMCA dispute panel found in January that Canada’s existing rules do not meet USMCA requirements. Led by Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Tom Reed (R-NY), Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Jim Costa (D-CA), and David Valadao (R-CA), the letter argues that Canada must bring its dairy TRQs into alignment with its USMCA commitments, which would further open Canada’s market to U.S. dairy products. Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has sent a similar letter pointing out that Canada’s USMCA dairy TRQ proposal is insufficient to deliver on USMCA’s promise for dairy exporters on March 4.

“The USMCA is not a list of optional suggestions and aspirational ambitions. Yet Canada has treated its obligations to American dairy producers as a game, seeing what they can get away with,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Congress rightfully recognizes this must stop. If we do not require our allies meet their signed commitments, then our trade agreements are not worth the paper they are printed on.”

“USDEC appreciates this strong bipartisan support focused on ensuring that American dairy exporters receive the benefits that was negotiated in the USMCA,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “We are committed to continuing to work with the U.S. government to make sure that the dairy market access negotiated with Canada is provided in full to the benefit of both American dairy farmers and manufacturers, and Canadian consumers alike.”

The bipartisan House letter sent today states, “A deal’s a deal; it’s not too much to ask that our trading partners live up to their end of the bargain. That is why it is critical that this compliance stage of the USMCA dairy case demonstrate that the USMCA enforcement process works – not just to deliver the right finding, as it did in January – but to ensure faithful implementation of the overall agreement and drive real, tangible reforms that are seen on store shelves, to the benefit of American dairy producers and manufacturers, just as USMCA intended.”