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Trade: NMPF Advances Better Policy Amid Record Exports

September 7, 2022


  • Championed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act as it became law and worked to ease record port congestion and fees.
  • Led efforts to advance the U.S. government’s initiation of a second case against Canada for their non-compliance with USMCA’s dairy provisions.
  • Successfully held at bay several proposed policies to limit dairy trade in Latin America.

NMPF’s work to expand export market opportunities for U.S. dairy products has helped support a record $4.8 billion in dairy exports in the first half of 2022, a year-over-year increase of 27 percent. NMPF collaborates with the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) to advance NMPF member interests.

President and CEO Jim Mulhern joined President Biden at the White House in June to welcome the signing of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA) into law. The legislation, aimed at easing the port congestion plaguing dairy and other exporters, caps NMPF and USDEC’s year-long efforts to help shape and advance the bill in Congress.

In addition to new protections for dairy exporters, including limits on fees incurred outside of exporters’ control, the new law directs the Federal Maritime Commission to draft additional regulations to ensure ocean carriers are not unduly refusing to transport U.S. exports. NMPF has also pressed the administration for measures to expand shipping equipment availability and iron out logistics challenges, including securing key port pop-up sites to facilitate the processing of shipping containers.

NMPF and USDEC also continue to be vocal advocates for free trade agreements that lower barriers for dairy exports, with the Biden Administration heeding NMPF’s calls to ensure existing deals are strongly enforced. Part of this year’s effort included successfully securing U.S. government support for a second dispute settlement panel over Canada’s refusal to expand dairy market access in accordance with its U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement commitments.

Additional efforts have focused on Mexico and Central and South America as protectionist sentiments continue to surge from Mexico to Chile. NMPF has focused on ensuring existing market access opportunities are preserved in the face of regulatory changes and anti-trade policies.

In Mexico, after deep engagement from NMPF and USDEC, new Mexican milk powder regulations were implemented on July 8 in a manner that allowed trade to keep flowing. The trade policy team also helped ensure that Panama’s appeals to shirk its dairy market access FTA obligations were rejected by the U.S. government and to push back against anti-import sentiment in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and other key regional markets. As additional countries retreat inward and embrace protectionist stances toward trade, NMPF strives to ensure counterproductive policies that would limit the ability of consumers to access U.S. dairy products are met with strong opposition.