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Dairy Farmers Count on Congress to Pass USMCA

July 8, 2019

The push to complete the U.S.–Mexico–Canada agreement (USMCA) received a boost in June when Mexico became the first country to ratify the trade agreement. Still, Washington has yet to take action, making collaboration key as NMPF works with other stakeholders to get the agreement over the finish line.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office is working with leading members of Congress to hash out a way forward, specifically focusing on concerns expressed by Democrats to guarantee sufficient Congressional support. Complementing that work, about 50 dairy farmers and dairy-cooperative staff took NMPF’s message in support of USMCA’s passage directly to Capitol Hill in June. Their on-the-ground advocacy was dovetailed with NMPF’s work to educate policymakers on the importance of this trade agreement to the dairy industry.

Also last month, NMPF joined forces with the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the International Dairy Foods Association to write to members of Congress from top dairy-producing states, asking them to “please pursue a USMCA vote without delay” on behalf of the dairy farms and businesses they represent.

“Solidifying and expanding trade opportunities abroad through USMCA will improve the prospects of dairy farms here at home,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “In the midst of uncertainty surrounding our trade relationships and yet another year of meager milk prices, the United States lost an average of seven dairy farms a day in 2018. The passage of USMCA will instill a renewed sense of optimism in our dairy farmers.”

USMCA will help bolster the U.S. dairy industry by locking in existing access to our key export market in Mexico while increasing trade opportunities in Canada and establishing new trade rules to discipline Canada’s trade-distorting dairy policies, discourage unscientific barriers to trade and preserve the rights of common cheese name users. U.S. government estimates calculate that USMCA will increase U.S. dairy exports to Mexico and Canada by $277 million once it is fully implemented.