Now that the negotiators have done their part, dairy groups want Congress to do the same.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) say they applaud the successful negotiations between the U.S. and South Korea aimed at resolving areas that have prevented advancement of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

Now, both organizations urge the Administration to send the U.S.-South Korea FTA to Congress for immediate action.

The White House announced late Friday that the agreement had been finalized, after much hard work during the past several months to resolve issues maximizing the prospects of getting the FTA approved by Congress.

“This FTA will be the most significant for the dairy industry since the agreement with Mexico as part of NAFTA, and it will provide major benefits for U.S. dairy producers” says Jerry Kozak, president and chief executive officer of NMPF. “By opening up a major dairy market to our products, this FTA will deliver, on average, an additional $380 million a year in benefits to U.S. dairy producers during the phase-in period of the agreement.”

“Our industry has been eager to see this FTA advanced in order to expand sales in Korea and to ensure that we are not disadvantaged as other major suppliers have negotiated FTAs with Korea such as the EU and Australia,” says Tom Suber, president of USDEC. “Korea is already one of our largest export markets and this FTA will only further stimulate sales of U.S. cheeses, whey products and skim milk powder to this important trading partner.”

NMPF and USDEC also reiterated their support for the U.S. FTAs with Colombia and Panama. The U.S. dairy industry hopes to ultimately see congressional approval of all three pending FTAs, as all would yield meaningful new opportunities for U.S. dairy exports and net benefits for the U.S. dairy industry, according to industry insiders.