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In Wake of Trans-Pacific Trade Stalemate, NMPF to Keep Pushing for a Good Deal on Dairy

August 4, 2015

Reacting to the July 31 stalemate in negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, NMPF pledged to keep working to achieve a dairy package that protects the interests of U.S. farmers.

Meeting in Hawaii, negotiators for the 12 nations involved in the massive Pacific Rim trade deal made significant progress by finalizing a number of chapters, but could not reach agreement on a few issues, including dairy. Trade Ministers have indicated the talks will continue very soon.

Key to the stalemate on dairy was Canada’s refusal to significantly open its highly protected dairy markets, the limited market access offered by Japan, and New Zealand’s unrealistic demands for access to the U.S. market in light of the limited market access offers from Japan and Canada. 

“It is not yet clear how the negotiators will push past this to bring talks to a successful conclusion,” said NMPF President and CEO Mulhern, “but we will continue to work constructively to achieve a dairy package that provides comparable results between new export market opportunities to TPP’s two key markets and any new import access.” 

Mulhern, NMPF Chairman Randy Mooney, and NMPF Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Trade Policy Jaime Castaneda traveled to Hawaii for the week-long minister-level trade talks.

In meetings with U.S. negotiators, Mulhern said, “we made clear we will not support a package that asks U.S. dairy farmers to be net losers in this TPP agreement.  We are prepared to do our part, but others need to do theirs, too.  The burden of this agreement cannot be carried by the U.S.”

Mulhern said NMPF appreciated the strong support the dairy industry received from U.S. negotiators and the bipartisan support it received from Congress leading up to the talks in Hawaii. (See separate story).

Mulhern urged dairy producers to keep telling their House and Senate members they support a balanced Pacific trade pact that benefits the U.S. dairy industry.  “Central to our work will be the engagement of our member cooperatives,” he said.