NMPF Advocates for Proactive Trade Agenda at USTR Hearing

NMPF’s Tony Rice testified at a May 3 Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) hearing on promoting U.S. supply chain resiliency to outline the steps the department should take to support American dairy exporters.

In his remarks, Rice laid out the importance of a proactive trade agenda in fostering resilient supply chains for the U.S. dairy industry:

“Comprehensive trade agreements play a crucial role in ensuring supply chain resiliency, providing a framework for reducing trade barriers and enhancing market access to key partners. These agreements ensure that U.S. dairy products can compete on a level playing field in highly competitive international markets.”

Complementing comments submitted to USTR on April 19, Rice emphasized the need for new trade agreements, which encourage investments in domestic manufacturers rather than in offshore facilities, and drive economic growth that supports dairy farmers, rural workers, and millions of workers along the dairy supply chain.

Rice’s testimony also highlighted specific nontariff barriers that USTR should prioritize addressing to improve supply chain reliability – such as unscientific sanitary and phytosanitary measures and burdensome facility listing requirements – and detailed how a more diversified set of export markets would support the development of more resilient dairy supply chains.

NMPF Presses USTR on Trade Barriers, New Markets

The U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) annual National Trade Estimate (NTE) report released Mar. 29 highlights several trade barrier and market access priorities that NMPF and USDEC have pointed out to the agency.

In Oct. 23 comments submitted to USTR as it developed the document, NMPF and USDEC detailed how the United States’ ongoing lack of new tariff-reducing trade agreements and uneven enforcement of existing agreements has put the U.S. dairy industry at a competitive disadvantage. The comments also summarized country-specific barriers that governments around the world are using to impede U.S. dairy exports.

Several of those nontariff barrier concerns were captured in the trade estimate as priorities for USTR, including:

  • Canada’s trade-restrictive administration of its U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement dairy tariff-rate-quotas,
  • Resolving Egypt’s protectionist and inconsistent Halal requirements,
  • Finding a solution for Indonesia’s facility registration delays,
  • Complex EU regulatory requirements that risk clogging trade flows.

NMPF, USDEC Outline Trade Barriers for USTR to Address

NMPF and USDEC urged the U.S. Trade Representative to take action to resolve pressing trade barriers including tariff discrepancies and disputes with Canada and other countries in Oct. 23 comments submitted for the agency’s annual National Trade Estimate Report.

The report is designed to catalogue key barriers impacting U.S. exports and prioritize USTR efforts to address them. NMPF emphasized the importance of exports to the health of the U.S. dairy industry and reiterated its concern that the administration has chosen to put less energy into pursuing free trade agreements that open new markets for U.S. dairy products.


NMPF listed the specific major trade barriers confronting the U.S. dairy industry on a country-by-country basis in key markets, including:

  • Tariff discrepancies faced by U.S. dairy exporters vs. competitors that have trade agreements with key markets.
  • Indonesia’s protracted process for registering U.S. dairy plants. NMPF urged USTR and USDA to establish a streamlined and more predictable facility registration process.
  • Canada’s Tariff-Rate Quote allocation system, which represents an ongoing U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) violation. NMPF has worked closely with USTR on the second dispute settlement panel and remains focused on ensuring that Canada’s TRQ administration procedures are fully USMCA compliant.
  • Egypt’s refusal to allow widely used halal certifying bodies to provide the required halal certification for all dairy imports. This opaque procedure is not WTO-compliant and should be replaced with Halal certification procedures that permit multiple certification bodies used by U.S. exporters, just as other markets already permit.