Members of Congress Urge Obama Administration to Ensure Trans-Pacific Partnership Benefits are Not Undermined
Key members of the U.S. House of Representatives issued a strong statement affirming the need for the Obama Administration to take concrete steps to address implementation and enforcement issues related to dairy provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.
Led by Reps. Suzan DelBene, Reid Ribble, Ron Kind and David Valadao, 47 House members (including leaders of the House Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee and the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee) signed a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack underscoring “critical implementation components related to dairy trade.”
The U.S. Dairy Export Council, National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association commend the action, which called on Ambassador Froman and Secretary Vilsack to address three dairy “priority areas” in TPP as Congress prepares to consider the agreement:
- Ensuring Canada faithfully implements its TPP commitments and also does not alter existing avenues for U.S. market access.
- Ensuring U.S. trading partners, particularly major markets such as Japan, adhere to the intent of the TPP agreement’s geographical indication (GI) commitments.
- Establishing U.S. procedures to actively ensure compliance with the terms of the market access that the U.S. will provide to TPP trading partners.
“Each of these considerations will be an important factor in how we view the overall agreement,” the letter concludes.
The House message echoes a joint letter USDEC, NMPF and IDFA sent to Ambassador Froman and Secretary Vilsack on April 19. This industry message also urged action by the Administration to address critical TPP implementation and enforcement issues.
“As the Representatives noted in their letter, U.S. dairy exports have borne the brunt of regulatory actions specifically created to limit U.S. access to the Canadian dairy market,” said Tom Suber, president of USDEC. “It is critical that USTR ensure that Canada doesn’t take away what little access they gave the United States under TPP. We must ensure that this pattern does not continue, and make sure that Canada neither undermines existing access nor its new access commitments under TPP.”
“The fine print in implementing TPP really matters,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We have endorsed the outlines of the agreement, but must insist that the terms agreed to need to be followed by the other countries in this agreement. The U.S. needs to remain vigilant with the TPP signatories and really hold their feet to the fire both now and down the road.”
“Making sure our trade partners adhere to their current and negotiated commitments is essential to the U.S. dairy industry, especially since we received limited market access gains in Canada and Japan in the final TPP negotiations,” said Connie Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA. “We certainly appreciate congressional efforts to address dairy’s concerns and to recommend activities that will ensure compliance.”
“The TPP agreement has the potential to help create international trade opportunities and support robust growth for the U.S. dairy industry, but only if it is fully implemented and enforced,” said Mulhern. “Addressing the priority areas outlined in the House letter will go a long way toward helping the industry capture TPP’s potential.”