Dairy Cooperative Leader Highlights Need for New Market Access Opportunities at Virtual Town Hall

Robert Chesler, CEO of the United Dairymen of Arizona, emphasized the importance of securing new market access opportunities through bilateral or multilateral Free Trade Agreements during a virtual town hall organized today by Farmers for Free Trade (FFT). For American dairy farmers to remain competitive in the international market, the United States must unlock new export markets, Chesler said.

As FFT members, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) have a leading role in carrying out its mission of informing the public about the benefits of free trade and supporting the pursuit of beneficial trade agreements that expand export opportunities for American farms.

During today’s virtual event, Chesler spoke of the challenges that American dairy exporters face as the United States’ trade competitors continue to secure greater dairy market access in key export markets. He noted that countries such as New Zealand, Australia, and the EU are aggressively pursuing new trade deals, which then harms the competitiveness of U.S. dairy products at a time when international demand is growing. In his remarks, Chesler said that policy actions focused on increased competition and removing burdensome market barriers are key to sustaining our existing export markets and opening additional opportunities for U.S. dairy producers.

“We urge the Administration to seek Trade Promotion Authority renewal to go after new trade agreements,” Chesler noted in his comments. “This is critical to realizing fully the potential of dairy markets in places like Vietnam, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and other major dairy purchasers. In the meantime, the U.S. should be using all types of trade tools to expand access and reduce barriers to U.S. exports with major agricultural importing markets.”

An NMPF and USDEC member based in Tempe, the United Dairymen of Arizona is a full-service milk marketing cooperative founded in 1960. Its farmer-owned manufacturing facility produces milk powder, cream, butter, and a variety of other dairy ingredients, many of which are exported around the world.

“We thank Robert for representing the industry and outlining provisions that could improve our export market,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO. “American dairy farmers support thousands of jobs in rural communities. Unfortunately, the lack of a trade agenda that focuses on opening markets limits our ability to grow. We need the administration to aggressively pursue greater market access opportunities to ensure American dairy exporters can effectively compete with other dairy exporting nations that continue to ink new agreements.”

“We applaud Robert’s remarks today about the competitive disadvantage that U.S. dairy producers are facing and encourage this administration to address the issue by engaging in negotiations with our trading partners,” said Krysta Harden, USDEC president and CEO. “What we are seeing today are unfavorable tariff rates when compared to our competitors and regulatory barriers that are hampering our exporters’ ability to access their full market potential. USDEC strongly supports UDA’s call to action for the administration to use its trading tools to pursue new opportunities.”