The National Milk Producers Federation’s (NMPF) Board of Directors last week approved a resolution in opposition to any Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that does not provide for significantly increased access to the Canadian dairy market. As part of that resolution, NMPF’s Board also urged the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to negotiate an agreement with Canada that eliminates barriers to trade and provides for mutually open dairy markets.
“From the outset, NMPF has applauded the inclusion of Canada in the TPP dialogue, given the significant export opportunities that Canada offers to our industry,” said Jim Mulhern, Chief Operating Officer of NMPF. “As the U.S. prepares to intensify market access discussions with TPP partners in its effort to bring the talks to a close, NMPF believes it is important to underscore the necessity of opening the Canadian dairy market as part of this agreement.”
Dairy trade was essentially excluded from the 1988 U.S.-Canada trade agreement (later folded into the North American Free Trade Agreement). Even though Canada is the second-largest export market for U.S. dairy products (mostly imported under a re-export program), the potential for additional sales there is far greater than what is currently allowed under the restrictive tariff system that Canada uses to protect its market.
“TPP presents a critical opportunity for us to finally liberalize U.S.-Canada dairy trade – an issue that has taken on increasing importance in light of the robust efforts by Canada to impede even the limited access currently available to U.S. dairy exporters,” said Mulhern.
NMPF supports the TPP negotiations, and “hopes that the final agreement will result in one that provides net benefits to U.S. dairy producers. Opening the Canadian dairy market is a linchpin to achieving that result,” Mulhern said.