USDEC, NMPF Ally with Colombian Dairy Association to Strengthen Trade, Drive Dairy Priorities

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and Colombian Association of Dairy Industry (Asoleche) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to increase cooperation between the U.S. and Colombian dairy industries as they advocate for pro-trade and science-based policies.

The agreement details objectives focused on improving communications and knowledge-sharing between the two industries, highlighting the economic and social importance of the dairy industry, and eliminating trade barriers that harm producers and consumers alike.

“This agreement is another significant step in the U.S. dairy industry’s commitment to working with and supporting our partners in Colombia and across Latin America,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “Both industries benefit when we have a robust trade relationship. Everyone – especially Colombian consumers – are worse off when policymakers impose ill-advised trade barriers. We look forward to continuing to build on our strong partnership.”

“The U.S. and Colombian dairy industries share many of the same values and priorities,” said Gregg Doud, president and CEO of NMPF. “We’re excited to work alongside Asoleche to promote positive, sound policies that build a stronger dairy industry in the Americas and internationally.”

“At Asoleche, our mission is to strengthen the competitiveness and sustainability of the Colombian dairy industry,” said Ana María Gómez Montes, Executive President of Asoleche. “This partnership with USDEC and NMPF will enable us to promote milk consumption, which is one of the greatest challenges we face as a dairy chain in Colombia. It will also provide us with more tools for innovation through the exchange of knowledge between industries. We hope that together we will develop innovative projects that benefit the entire dairy chain and consumers in Colombia who rely on both domestic and imported dairy products.”

The MOU  complements similar agreements USDEC and NMPF have made throughout Latin America, including with Sociedad Rural Argentina, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Chilean Federacion Nacional de Productores de Leche (Fedeleche).

NMPF Works to Preserve Market Access in Colombia

NMPF Executive Vice President for Policy Development and Strategy Jaime Castaneda testified in a hearing convened Aug. 12 by the Colombian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Tourism, calling on the Colombian government to terminate its safeguard investigation on imports of U.S. milk powder.

The Colombian government began the investigation in June to determine whether imports of U.S. milk powders were injuring its domestic industry, a move that appears to be politically driven. NMPF staff worked closely with USDEC’s regulatory team and South American office, as well as with U.S. exporters, to submit extensive data and information to Colombia to counter the Colombian livestock sector’s push to impose tariffs on U.S. milk powder exports.

Castaneda in his testimony highlighted that any imposed safeguard would create inefficiencies in the Colombian dairy processing sector and a market deficit of certain dairy products in Colombia, without helping its dairy producers. Castaneda called the safeguard request by Colombia’s cattle breeders purely political with no legal or factual basis.

“The milk powder import safeguards petition is a political action pursued in the months leading up to a presidential campaign at the expense of Colombia’s poorest and import-dependent small and medium-sized industries; it has no economic or commercial merit,” Castaneda said in his testimony. “By imposing a political safeguard, the Colombian government would create a serious conflict between Colombia and the United States, impacting Colombian exports of other products to the U.S.”

Castaneda encouraged the U.S. and Columbia to work together to expand overall milk consumption, benefiting farmers in both nations.