NMPF Pursues, Protects Dairy Market Access

NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) submitted joint comments to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office on April 11 asking it to place a high priority on tariff cuts and nontariff barrier removals through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

While the administration still hesitates to pursue comprehensive free trade agreements, the framework, which is focused on defining shared objectives around trade facilitation, standards, supply chain resiliency, sustainability, and other common interests in the Indo-Pacific region, presents a potential opportunity to take one step forward on access terms in the region. NMPF in the comments urged that the Biden Administration pursue comprehensive trade agreements to establish lasting tariff and nontariff trade barrier reductions. While acknowledging that the economic framework will not be that kind of agreement, the comments make the case that it could still reduce or eliminate barriers to trade and suggest numerous areas for potential progress.

NMPF and USDEC worked closely with Congressional offices to bolster that message through a March 30 House of Representatives letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging the administration to prioritize U.S. food and agriculture in any IPEF negotiations. The bipartisan letter, led by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and signed by 85 other members of Congress, called on the administration to use the Indo-Pacific negotiations to “include efforts to reduce tariffs on U.S. agricultural exports,” to establish regulatory reforms that would benefit U.S. dairy and others in American agriculture, and more.

NMPF also is continuing to safeguard free trade in Latin America, where growing anti-import sentiment from domestic agricultural industries is contributing to a proliferation of potential new market access barriers.

Panama formally petitioned the United States in March 16 to renegotiate several of the agricultural market access provisions in the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. In response, NMPF and USDEC, working together with the Corn Refiners Association, initiated an April 14 letter co-signed by fifteen other agricultural organizations to Ambassador Tai and Secretary Vilsack urging them to preserve the agricultural market access terms of the trade deal and ensure Panama honors its trade obligations. The letter states that modifying an already-implemented trade deal would set an “alarming precedent” and urges the administration to stay the course on FTA implementation.