A bipartisan group of lawmakers is encouraging proactive enforcement of dairy provisions set forth in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In a letter addressed to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, a total of 104 House lawmakers highlight the need to hold Mexico and Canada to their dairy commitments. The letter notes specific dairy provisions that need to be emphasized now that the agreement has been put into effect.
The coalition highlights Canada’s administration of its dairy Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) as being particularly important. The letter states that “Canada’s announced TRQ administration procedures appear to run counter to numerous USMCA provisions.” The lawmakers encourage action to ensure U.S. dairy products have fair access to the Canadian market. The elimination of Canada’s Class 6 and 7 milk pricing classes is another point of concern detailed in the letter. “Canada must not be permitted to effectively recreate the harmful impacts of Canada’s highly trade-distortive Classes 6 and 7 milk pricing programs,” the letter states.
Concern was also raised in regard to Mexico’s enforcement of two side letters related to commonly used cheese terms. The coalition notes that enforcement of all of the dairy provisions under USMCA is going to be critical for the agreement’s success. Data from the International Trade Commission projects U.S. dairy exports to increase by more than $314 million a year if USMCA is implemented as intended.
“A strong demand for U.S. dairy exports abroad drives economic growth and creates jobs here at home. USMCA is designed to allow the U.S. industry to fulfill this demand from two of our largest dairy customers and we cannot allow Canada or Mexico to undermine the important gains secured in this trade deal,” President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, Tom Vilsack said in a press release. “We are working alongside Congress, the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure Canada and Mexico are held accountable to their trade commitments.”