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NMPF, USDEC Join Others in Urging Passage of New TPA Legislation

March 9, 2015

NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council urged Congress this week to enact new Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, saying it is crucial to securing well-negotiated trade agreements, including a pending Pacific Rim pact that must open key markets to more U.S. dairy products.

In a letter to Congress, NMPF and USDEC said renewing TPA, which expired in 2007, will increase congressional influence over trade negotiations and lead to agreements that are better for both the country and the dairy industry.

“By having a clear framework for participating in the process and identified priorities that a successful agreement must address, Congress increases its influence over these agreements as they are being written,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.

Added USDEC President Tom Suber: “TPA plays a key role in supporting a strong trade policy agenda. That is particularly important to the dairy industry, since it now exports the equivalent of one-seventh of its U.S. milk production.” Last year alone, Suber noted, the U.S. industry exported more than $7 billion in dairy products.

The dairy groups also urged Congress to become engaged in the final stages of negotiations with 11 other countries over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Given the strong export potential with TPP countries, they said an agreement that increases imports without comparable increases in export openings would be a disservice to U.S. dairy farmers and dairy companies.

“To achieve an agreement that on balance offers net benefits to the U.S. dairy industry, access to the region’s most protected dairy markets – Japan and Canada – is imperative,” said Mulhern. “While some progress has been made in Japan, both of these countries need to open their markets to a full range of U.S. dairy products.”