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Bipartisan push for USMCA ag enforcement

Bipartisan push for USMCA ag enforcement

Canada and Mexico must adhere to dairy provisions within the agreement, U.S. senators said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle are asking federal ag and trade officials to hold Canada and Mexico accountable for dairy items within the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“USMCA is poised to create new export opportunities for America’s dairy industry and a more equitable playing field for American dairy exports in Mexico and Canada, but effective implementation will be critical to realizing these gains,” an Aug. 25 letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says.

A total of 25 Democratic and Republican senators signed the letter. Signatories included Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

Mexico and Canada each have individual responsibilities as it pertains to dairy within the USMCA.

Mexico must confirm that cheesemakers in the U.S. and Mexico use certain terms to describe cheeses like blue, cheddar and gouda. Mexico must also ensure access for U.S. products with these names and terms are not restricted.

Canada must make U.S. dairy more accessible within its domestic markets.

On June 15, 2020, Canada’s minister of small business, export promotion and international trade opened applications for 16 new supply-managed tariff rate quotas (TRQ) for dairy, chicken, eggs and egg products.

But the way Canada is approaching the TRQs is not within USMCA guidelines, the U.S. senators say.

Canada “cannot be allowed to administer TRQs in a manner that discourages utilization or restricts the ability of the U.S. dairy industry to completely fill the established TRQs at advantageous price points,” the letter states.

In addition, Canada must eliminate its Class 6 and 7 milk pricing schemes. It must be done with full transparency, the senators wrote.

The letter from the U.S. senators comes after a similar letter from the House of Representatives.

A total of 104 members of the House signed an Aug. 13 letter urging Lighthizer and Perdue to ensure Canada and Mexico comply with USMCA’s dairy rules.

Farms.com has reached out to the U.S. dairy industry and USDA for comment.

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