The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) sent their own letter to members of Congress urging support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement while also addressing a number of critical implementation and enforcement issues. The associations urged the federal government to ensure that the other participating countries adhere to their respective commitments within the pact.
The three dairy groups outlined the benefits the agreement could bring to the industry, such as improving the rules of the road governing trade throughout the TPP region. For instance the letter addresses TPP’s ground-breaking commitments on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues, as well as geographical indications (GIs) and common food names.
“The geographical indications provisions in TPP, for the first time, establish a more equitable process for considering GIs and emphasize the importance of safeguarding usage of common food names,” the letter said. “This is a key priority for our industry as we face the European Union’s global efforts to wield GIs as nontariff barriers to trade in order to limit competition and market access from U.S. suppliers.”
However, they noted several issues that need to be addressed during the TPP’s implementation process, which are vital to ensure that the agreement lives up to its potential to create improved international opportunities. They asked Congress to insist that both Canada and Japan be held to their own commitments – both existing ones and new ones under the agreement. It also highlighted the importance of the United States carefully ensuring active enforcement of its own market access provisions.