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NMPF Redoubles Focus on TTIP Talks

February 3, 2016

The U.S. government has set a goal to conclude trade talks with the European Union on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) by the end of this year. NMPF, USDEC and the International Dairy Foods Association joined last month to meet with the inter-agency team of the U.S. Trade Representative, Department of Agriculture, and Food and Drug Administration, in order to reiterate the importance of focusing TTIP non-tariff dairy discussions on the $1 billion dairy trade deficit between the U.S. and the EU. The united industry message reinforced what dairy organizations have insisted is essential from the outset of TTIP: streamlining and simplifying the EU’s dairy certification requirements by securing approval of the safety of the U.S. dairy system and an accompanying commitment to avoid introducing unwarranted new import requirements.

As the U.S. and EU work to intensify TTIP negotiations this year and the EU pushes aggressively to capitalize on its $1 billion trade advantage, NMPF is focused on ensuring that any potential agreement address the trade barriers confronting U.S. dairy exporters in attempting to access the European market. This focus also includes a strong drive to combat the EU’s efforts to abuse geographical indications as a non-tariff barrier designed to hamper competition from U.S. cheese companies.

“We will oppose any agreement that seeks to impose GI status on generic cheese names, and we are heartened by the strong Congressional support for our view that has been expressed in numerous bi-partisan communications on the subject,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “TTIP’s focus needs to be on removing barriers to US dairy exports to the EU and other key global markets, not on allowing the EU to secure protection for its GIs while ignoring the creeping threat of nontariff barriers confronting US exports as a result of the EU’s policies.”