trade
July 1, 2020

Dairy Industry Celebrates USMCA, Emphasizes Enforcement Needs

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

Dairy industry leaders applaud the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and Congress for getting the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) done. It goes into force today. 

Still, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) have concerns about adequate enforcement of the agreement. 

“The modernized trade deal is a testament to the tremendous bipartisan effort from both the Administration and members of Congress to improve trade rules,” they said in a statement. “USMCA is designed to usher in significant changes to U.S.-Canadian dairy trade, restore certainty to U.S.-Mexico trade relations and establish important protections for common name cheeses. Given the importance of these reforms to the growth of U.S. exports and economic health of the dairy industry, it is critical that the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Department of Agriculture utilize USMCA’s stringent enforcement measures to ensure Canada and Mexico are held accountable to their trade commitments.”

This comes shortly after Canada recently announced tariff rate quota allocations that are contradictory to USMCA commitments intended to expand access to the Canadian dairy market. As they move to finalize these TRQs it’s up to the U.S. to insist on full compliance with USMCA, they said.

“As USMCA enters into force, America’s dairy farmers and cooperatives are looking forward to a brighter future built on the foundation of this modernized trade agreement. Dairy is counting on this trade agreement, carefully crafted by USTR and with strong bipartisan support, to deliver tangible benefits to our industry during an uncertain time when our farmers need additional export markets and trade opportunities more than ever. To fulfill the promises of USMCA, the U.S. government can’t take its eyes off the goal of ensuring that this deal is fully enforced and implemented as intended,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.

In regard to Mexico, USMCA also strengthens the relationship and establishes new protections for products that rely on common cheese names, such as parmesan and feta. 

“After years of hard work by the Administration and Congress to bring this new agreement to fruition, the U.S. dairy industry is pleased to celebrate USMCA as it enters into force, mandating new access into Canada’s restrictive markets and establishing groundbreaking protections for American-made cheeses in Mexico,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “If implemented in good faith and diligently enforced, USMCA will deliver positive benefits to dairy, and all of agriculture, as it facilitates the smooth flow of trade in North America. The implementation of USMCA’s provisions is not the end of our work, it’s simply the beginning as we continue our efforts to break down global barriers to fair dairy trade and to ensure this agreement is fully enforced.”