The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today jointly urged Congress to enact new Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, saying it is crucial to securing well-negotiated trade agreements, including a Pacific Rim pact that must open key markets to more U.S. dairy products.
In a letter to Congress, NMPF and USDEC said renewing TPA, which expired in 2007, will increase congressional influence over trade negotiations and lead to agreements that are better for both the country and the dairy industry.
“By having a clear framework for participating in the process and identified priorities that a successful agreement must address, Congress increases its influence over these agreements as they are being written,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.
Added USDEC President Tom Suber: “TPA plays a key role in supporting a strong trade policy agenda. That is particularly important to the dairy industry, since it now exports the equivalent of one-seventh of its U.S. milk production.” Last year alone, Suber noted, the U.S. industry exported more than $7 billion in dairy products.
The dairy groups urged Congress to approve TPA, but also to become engaged in the final stages of negotiations with 11 other countries over the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“To achieve an agreement with net benefits to the U.S. dairy industry, access to the region’s most protected dairy markets – Japan and Canada – is imperative,” said Mulhern. “While some progress has been made in Japan, both of these countries need to open their markets to a full range of U.S. dairy products.”
Suber said another key issue is improving safeguards for using generic food names, including many common cheese names, in export markets. The European Union, he noted, is attempting to erect trade barriers by limiting the use of names like feta, parmesan and asiago among many others, to particular geographic areas.
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, Va., develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of U.S. dairy producers and the cooperatives they collectively own. The members of NMPF's cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S, milk supply, making NMPF the voice of nearly 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF's activities, visitwww.nmpf.org.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Its mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and overseas in Mexico, South America, Asia, Middle East and Europe. The U.S. Dairy Export Council prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital status, military status, and arrest or conviction record. www.usdec.org