The majority of U.S. dairy farmer cooperatives and dairy processing companies – members of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) or the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) – threatened to withdraw support from the pending Trans-Pacific (TPP) trade agreement if Japan and Canada refuse to follow through on pledges to provide comprehensive market access for U.S. dairy products.
NMPF and USDEC initiated this united dairy industry message intended to underscore the need for comprehensive market access in all dairy tariff lines with both nations in order to ensure that TPP negotiations result in a high standard trade agreement that can be held up as a model for future agreements.
“USDEC has been one of the most vocal champions of the importance of including Japan and Canada in TPP since these markets offer strong opportunities for our members to expand U.S. dairy exports,” stated Tom Suber, USDEC president. “However, it is critical that their participation in TPP be meaningful and comprehensive across all dairy products. It is entirely unacceptable to have such sizable, sophisticated economies refusing to undertake the necessary openness that they agreed to upon entering TPP.”
Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF noted that, “As we have made clear in our letter to Ambassador Froman and Secretary Vilsack, we want to see very strong outcomes on market access with Japan and Canada, and our industry remains prepared to match the level of ambition of those countries. To be successful, any eventual TPP agreement must result in more open dairy markets in Japan and Canada.”
In addition to urging U.S. negotiators to remain focused on opening up the Japanese and Canadian dairy markets, members of both organizations also stressed the importance of addressing the lingering impacts of New Zealand government dairy policies that have intentionally advantaged a single national champion at the expense of other competitors.
In a letter to U.S. trade negotiators (see below), NMPF and USDEC members expressed strong hopes that TPP negotiations will result in a final package that can garner the endorsement of the U.S. dairy industry without requiring a re-examination of the industry’s support for Trade Promotion Authority as a critical tool in the approval of well-negotiated trade agreements.
The text of the letter follows.
June 3, 2014
Ambassador Michael Froman
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street, NW