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Negotiations Continue on U.S. Trade Agreements

January 10, 2014

December was an intensive month for trade negotiations of importance to U.S. dairy farmers. Heated negotiations in both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) dominated last month.

In early December, NMPF staff traveled to Singapore for a TPP Ministerial meeting at which the 12 TPP countries sought to make significant progress on many of the issues that remain unresolved in the negotiations. Market access was one notable topic of focus – particularly as it relates to Japan and Canada. NMPF joined with several other U.S. agricultural organizations in sending two letters to the Obama Administration about the critical importance of securing access into Japan and Canada. The letters are available here and here.

Also last month, the U.S. and European Union (EU) officials continued to negotiate TTIP provisions. NMPF gave a presentation at the stakeholder session focused on the core parameters dairy farmers need to see in this agreement in order to address the $1 billion dairy trade deficit the U.S. would like to close with members of the EU.

Staff stressed that this imbalance is the result of overly-restrictive EU rules that impose unscientific and onerous requirements on imports from the U.S., as well as other barriers to trade such as banning the use of many common product names. The EU has made clear that one of its key goals for TTIP is to extend these product naming barriers to the U.S. market as well. NMPF is vehemently opposed to any such restrictions on the names U.S. companies can use – whether in the U.S. market, overseas, or in the EU itself.