NMPF Plays Leading Role at U.S.-China Ag Forum

Jaime Castaneda, NMPF Executive Vice President for Policy Development and Strategy, traveled to Beijing and Shanghai on Nov. 1-7 to promote the competitiveness and sustainability of the U.S. dairy industry at the U.S.-China Agricultural Trade Cooperation Forum.

Castaneda began the trip meeting with Chinese trade associations to discuss the country’s high agricultural tariffs and other challenges faced by U.S. companies. He then spoke at the forum alongside representatives from other U.S. commodity groups and met with U.S. and Chinese government officials to discuss barriers to trade—including high tariffs, geographical indications restrictions and dairy facility listing requirements.

Castaneda also presented at the Global Dairy Forum hosted by the China International Import Expo, the world’s largest import-themed national-level conference. The event featured a panel discussion with other agricultural organizations and a group media interview. Throughout all discussions Castaneda emphasized that the U.S. dairy industry is committed to the Chinese market and advocated for better trade conditions that will allow American exporters to compete and succeed.

U.S. Government Plows Ahead on Canadian USMCA Compliance

NMPF lauded the administration’s Jan. 31 announcement that the U.S. had requested a second U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) panel to evaluate Canada’s compliance with its USMCA dairy market access obligations. The decision pushes forward the dispute settlement process, slightly more than a month after the U.S. requested consultations with Canada on an expanded set of USMCA dairy tariff-rate quota (TRQ) commitment violations.

Since USMCA’s implementation, Canada has continually flouted the agreement’s TRQ provisions, giving preferential treatment to Canadian processors at the expense of American dairy exporters and Canadian consumers. When this breach was initially confirmed by the first USMCA dispute panel, Canada responded by making only insignificant changes to its TRQ policies. This latest move challenges the persistent problems remaining in Canada’s dairy TRQ system.

NMPF and USDEC have worked closely with the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA throughout the dispute to support their case and demonstrate Canada’s lack of compliance with its USMCA commitments.

U.S. Dairy Praises USTR Move to Hold Canada Responsible for USMCA Violations

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) commended today’s announcement that the U.S. Trade Representative has formally moved to advance a U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dispute settlement proceeding and establish a second panel to determine whether Canada has been in violation of its market access obligations under the agreement.

Canada’s unwillingness to abide by the tariff-rate quota provisions of USMCA has been an issue since the agreement’s implementation began. The United States won its first dispute panel on the matter in Dec. 2021, which found that Canada was reserving most of its preferential dairy TRQs for Canadian processors that have little incentive to import product. Canada’s revised approach to USMCA TRQs, released in May, also provided inequitable advantages to Canadian processors.

“Canada’s TRQ allocation system is not only a violation of USMCA — it directly harms American dairy farmers, processors, and other workers by unfairly restricting access to their market,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “USTR’s action is an important step in righting this wrong and sending a message that the U.S. will fight violations of trade deals in Canada and wherever else they may be committed.”

“The U.S. dairy community greatly appreciates the Biden Administration’s decision to prioritize steps to address Canada’s USMCA violations,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “Unfortunately, Canada has shown a pattern of not living up to the dairy commitments it has made in trade agreements. As long as they continue to drag their feet, we’ll continue to work with USTR and USDA to fight back, and propose retaliatory action if necessary.”

If the panel ultimately confirms that Canada has been violating its obligations under USMCA, the U.S. would be granted the right to impose retaliatory duties should Canada fail to fix its unfair TRQ administrative practices.

NMPF, USDEC Strengthen Ties Throughout Latin America

NMPF, USDEC and Sociedad Rural Argentina (SRA) announced an agreement Sept. 8 to foster cooperation between the three groups to advocate for science-based regulations across food and agricultural trade policy. SRA, a civil association of agricultural landowners, is an influential economic and political player in Argentina, and will be a valuable partner in advocating for international food policy priorities.

NMPF and USDEC built on the momentum with an agreement finalized Sept. 30 with the Chilean Federacion Nacional de Productores de Leche (Fedeleche). The memorandum of understanding places an emphasis on improving mutual understanding through conferences, seminars and events so that the three organizations can collaborate in fighting for clear, fair, science-based rules.

These latest developments complement the long-standing relationship NMPF and USDEC have cultivated with the Pan-American Dairy Federation (FEPALE), which held its 16th Congress in Quito, Ecuador, Oct. 19-21. NMPF Executive Vice President for Policy Development & Strategy Jaime Castaneda presented on behalf of FEPALE member USDEC at its Board of Directors meeting, supporting collaboration and joint work in international forums. Castaneda discussed supplemental partnership opportunities with dairy farmers in Ecuador that would increase dairy consumption and bilateral trade.

NMPF and USDEC look forward to continuing to expanding and collaborating with their regional partners to promote and defend the image of dairy and increase trade.