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NMPF and USDEC Slam Canadian Proposal on USMCA Dairy Market Access

March 3, 2022

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) rejected a proposal issued late yesterday by Global Affairs Canada that outlines the Canadian “changes” to their current scheme for allocating U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dairy tariff-rate-quotas (TRQ).

In January the United States Trade Representative’s office announced that it had won USMCA’s first-ever dispute settlement panel by prevailing in its case against Canada regarding how Canada’s USMCA dairy TRQ allocation process violated the agreement. Ambassador Tai noted at the time that, “This historic win will help eliminate unjustified trade restrictions on American dairy products and will ensure that the U.S. dairy industry and its workers get the full benefit of the USMCA to market and sell U.S. products to Canadian consumers.”

“Enough is enough. U.S. dairy producers are sick and tired of Canada’s game playing on dairy market access. From their irrelevant celebration that the panel upheld Canada’s right to retain a supply management system, a fact that no one has challenged and was not at issue in the USMCA case, to the continual efforts to undermine established trade commitments in order to favor Canadian dairy farmers, this pattern of behavior has gone on too long. All that American dairy farmers want is fair and good-faith implementation of USMCA’s dairy provisions. That doesn’t seem like a high bar, yet it appears to be insurmountable for Canada based on yesterday’s proposed dairy TRQ scheme changes,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We urge the administration to demand that Canada go back to the drawing board until it can genuinely deliver on providing the U.S. dairy industry the full benefit of USMCA.”

“U.S. dairy farmers and manufacturers have only limited access to the Canadian market under USMCA. That makes it essential that Canada abide by its original commitments under that agreement,” said Krysta Harden, president & CEO of USDEC. “Canada’s recent dairy TRQ proposal will not lead to that result. While it’s not surprising that Canada is trying to see just how little will be demanded of them, it’s essential that the U.S. government insist on real reforms.”

As the first case brought and decided under USMCA, the U.S.-Canada dairy TRQ panel is a test-case for whether or not the USMCA dispute settlement process can provide effective enforcement and deliver genuine compliance with the agreement. NMPF and USDEC will continue to work with the Biden administration and Congress to seek to ensure that the process provides the type of strong precedent needed for future USMCA disputes as well.