The United States, Canada and Mexico kicked off the North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS) in Ottawa this week, with this year’s event holding a large focus on the trading relationship between the United States and Canada, especially related to Canada’s persistent undermining of U.S. dairy export access, a pattern that has cost American dairy farmers and processors hundreds of millions of dollars. Canada recently instituted a new pricing policy at the provincial level designed to discourage Canadian processors from using imported dairy products.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) both expressed appreciation for the Obama Administration’s attention to Canada’s continual erection of nontariff trade barriers, and the harmful impact they impose on U.S. dairy exports. The two organizations underscored the importance of high-level discussions this week on Canada’s actions on dairy, and how they hurt the U.S.-Canada trading relationship.
“America’s dairy farmers rely on exports to provide a home for the equivalent of one day’s worth of milk production each week,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “When other countries disingenuously use policies and regulations to block those sales – especially in light of previously negotiated free trade agreements – the negative impact is felt on the farm. This is particularly damaging in tough years like this when milk supplies exceed demand. We hope President Obama will continue to hold our trading partners accountable, particularly those with whom we’re preparing to deepen our trade ties, such as Trans-Pacific Partnership members.”
NMPF and USDEC both support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but have also stressed the importance of ensuring that the agreement works in practice as envisioned on paper and the importance of Canada’s compliance with existing obligations in achieving that result.