Dairy Groups Seeks Congress' Aid to Pass U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

USMCA ( MGN Image )

A letter has been sent by three dairy organizations representing farmers and processors who are seeking the aid of Congress to quickly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The letter was sent on June 10 by the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), to U.S. Representatives of top-producing dairy states. The letter outlines the importance of having stable trade relationships, particularly with Mexico and Canada.

An excerpt of the letter says:

“On behalf of the dairy farms and businesses in your district, please pursue a USMCA vote without delay by working to resolve any outstanding issues as swiftly as possible and then quickly ratify the trade deal to send a clear message to the world that America still values fair trade and robust trade partnerships with our allies.”

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, USMCA would provide a $277 million economic boost in U.S. dairy exports.

“Solidifying and expanding trade opportunities abroad through USMCA will improve the prospects of dairy farms here at home,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “In the midst of uncertainty surrounding our trade relationships and yet another year of meager milk prices, the United States lost an average of seven dairy farms a day in 2018. The passage of USMCA will instill a renewed sense of optimism in our dairy farmers.”

The U.S. exports about 16% of the milk supply through products like powder, cheese and butter. Mexico is the largest trade destination for U.S. dairy products, buying $1.4 billion worth during 2018.

“On behalf of our dairy industry which pumps $620 billion into the U.S. economy each year, we are making a strong appeal to Congress to vote to ratify USMCA now. To pave the way for USMCA ratification, we ask the Administration to restore a market principled approach to trade –transparent, rules-based and predictable for our North American trading partners. The time has come to focus on what’s important to our economy—maintaining American jobs, growing U.S. export markets, and restoring America’s reputation as a reliable supplier,” says Michael Dykes, president and CEO of IDFA.

USMCA also provides updates to areas of current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that would allow greater access into the Canadian market for U.S. dairy products.

“It is time for Congress to swiftly pursue a USMCA vote by working closely with the Administration to resolve outstanding concerns and then quickly ratify this agreement to bring USMCA across the finish line,” says Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “The successful resolution of the Section 232 retaliatory tariffs helped pave the way for this critical trade agreement; while we work together to secure its passage Congress must also stand against the imposition of any additional tariffs that could jeopardize forward progress.”

All three of the dairy groups also sent a letter to Congress with more than 960 food and agriculture associations or companies seeking quick ratification of USMCA. 

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