July 20, 2017

NAFTA Negotiations Need to Build On Benefits

 |  By: Jim Mulhern

NAFTA has been a crucial contributor to the growth of America’s dairy sector, and the new negotiating strategies released this week by the Trump Administration reflect the need to build on the existing benefits of NAFTA and make it an even more valuable pact in the future.

This includes preserving our access to the growing Mexican market. For instance, we are very pleased to see the Administration confirm that we must guard against efforts to undermine that access through other nations’ use of geographic indications that could hurt our cheese exports.

The NAFTA goals also address the need to rectify Canada’s new Class 7 policy, which is a clear contradiction of the spirit of NAFTA and Canada’s other trade commitments to the United States.  We need to use the NAFTA talks – scheduled to begin Aug. 16 in Washington – to challenge Canada’s new anti-competitive dairy pricing scheme. At the same time, we also aim to expand market opportunities for our products in Canada by tackling the remaining Canadian tariffs that hold back U.S. exports of so many U.S. products. This goal too was referenced in the Administration’s NAFTA objectives.

In addition, the U.S. dairy sector shares the appreciation of so many others across American agriculture of the Administration’s intention in this document to strengthen the SPS rules in the agreement to ensure they can most effectively lead to transparent and science-based SPS requirements in order to support dependable trading conditions.

Trade across North America is crucial to the future of the U.S. dairy sector, and we look forward to working with the administration’s trade officials as they revitalize this agreement.