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Congress Takes Bipartisan Stand Supporting USMCA Enforcement at NMPF Urging

September 2, 2020

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is poised to bring tangible benefits to America’s dairy farmers and cooperatives, but only if its dairy-related provisions are fairly implemented and fully enforced.

A broad, bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in August asked the U.S. government to ensure that Canada and Mexico uphold their trade obligations. Two letters were sent by lawmakers in the House and Senate.

The August 13 House letter was signed by a broad bipartisan coalition of 104 lawmakers, led by Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Tom Reed (R-NY), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R -PA), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Russ Fulcher (R-ID), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).

Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) spearheaded a second letter signed by a bipartisan group of 25 Senators on August 25, writing that “It is imperative that Canada and Mexico deliver upon their agreed upon commitments related to dairy products.”

“USMCA is a modernized trade deal that represents new opportunities for our farmers and processors after years of rural recession and the new challenges presented by the current crisis. We must utilize USMCA’s enforcement mechanisms to bring home its hard-fought wins for America’s dairy farmers,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, following the House letter.

Specific provisions of concern to U.S. dairy highlighted in each letter include Canada’s administration of its dairy TRQs, the full and transparent elimination of Classes 6 and 7 and related dairy pricing program disciplines, and the enforcement of side-letter agreements with Mexico that protect market access for U.S. common names cheeses.