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NMPF Vice Chair Urges Congressional Committee to Focus on Trade

December 6, 2021

NMPF First Vice Chair and California dairy producer Simon Vander Woude highlighted the need for the U.S. government to pursue new market access opportunities in a Nov. 17 U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on agricultural trade.

Vander Woude, who also serves as chairman of California Dairies, Inc., pointed to the preferential market access that the European Union, Australia, and New Zealand have aggressively negotiated in a list of key dairy markets and the subsequent loss of American dairy competitiveness as the playing field continues to tilt against the United States. The list of priority markets to target for expanded access included China, Southeast Asia, Japan, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom.

“We farmers need a proactive trade policy to keep pace and continue to increase sales to support the good farm and manufacturing jobs our industry creates,” Vander Woude said.

Vander Woude in his testimony also said Congress and the administration need to address supply chain delays that call into question the reputation of the United States as a reliable supplier, as well as for enforcement of existing trade agreements. He noted that both new trade deals, such as the USMCA agreement, and longstanding bilateral agreements warrant strong enforcement, in addition to ensuring WTO members live up to their obligations to preserving hard-won market access opportunities.

“As Simon outlined so well to the House Livestock and Foreign Agriculture subcommittee today, exports are essential to the health of dairy farmers and to our wider industry,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. “New access into markets like Canada and Japan last year was a welcome first step, but still far less than what our farmers need to remain competitive globally. The United States needs to begin moving forward again with trade agreements and other policies that expand foreign market opportunities to help family dairy farms thrive and support the thousands of jobs that depend on dairy across this country.”