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Dairy Groups Welcome Introduction of TPA

January 10, 2014

NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) have welcomed the introduction this week in Congress of the Trade Priorities Act (TPA) of 2014 by Sens. Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch, and Rep. Dave Camp. The bipartisan legislation sets forth key negotiating objectives for the Administration, and outlines engagement requirements providing for an enhanced role for Congress in trade negotiation consultations.

The TPA-2014 legislation contains several elements of importance to the U.S. dairy industry, including:

  • Prioritization of tariff reduction for U.S. products that face significantly higher foreign tariffs or subsidy regimes by major producing countries, both of which are global challenges for U.S. dairy exports;
  • The pursuit of strong and enforceable rules on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures;
  • Direction urging the Administration to eliminate and prevent the undermining of market access for U.S. products through improper use of geographical indications; and,
  • A specific negotiating focus on goods subject to U.S. tariff rate quotas, as is the case for most dairy products.

“This legislation recognizes the importance of clearly identifying the goals and priorities that are most vital to the successful negotiation of balanced trade agreements,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.

Both organizations stressed that TPA’s role is to lay the ground work for Congressional consideration of trade agreements, but it is by no means an automatic stamp of approval on any agreement currently underway. The details of each final trade deal and the degree to which it meets the dairy industry’s key priority for that negotiation will determine whether or not that agreement is one that merits support.