U.S. & Mexican Dairy Industries Make United Call for NAFTA

Jamie JohansenAg Group, Cattle, Dairy, Dairy Group, Export, NMPF, Trade, USDEC

According to the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. and Mexican dairy industries released a unified list of priorities that includes modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to solidify their strong dairy market partnership, and addressing concerns about Canadian and European dairy policies during the United States-Mexico Dairy Alliance.

The summit occurred on the heels of the first round of NAFTA renegotiation talks. As NAFTA talks continue, the European Union (EU) is seeking, through direct negotiations with Mexico, to impose new barriers to dairy trade through the abuse of geographical indications. This is a significant concern to U.S. and Mexican cheesemakers because it would give the EU exclusive use of common cheese names like asiago, gorgonzola and feta.

Canada is also disrupting dairy trade in North America and beyond as its new Class 6/7 pricing scheme dumps artificially low-cost milk powder in global markets, displacing U.S. exports from the Canadian market.

“We want to strengthen our relationship as Mexico’s most trusted dairy trading partner so we can continue to work together for the benefit of dairy sectors on both sides of the border,” said USDEC President and CEO Tom Vilsack. “That goal is all the more essential given other nations’ efforts to pursue harmful and disruptive approaches to dairy trade with Mexico through practices that hurt Mexican and U.S. dairy farmers and workers in the process.”

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, said, “We are very pleased that our friends in Mexico have joined us in expressing opposition to the abusive attempts of the European Union to confiscate common food names, as well as the trade distorting practices of Canada, at a time when we are working to facilitate new opportunities throughout North America. This meeting provided an opportunity to explore how we can deepen those efforts.”

The complete release can be found here.