The U.S. government announced today that Canada has been extended an invitation to actively join the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement negotiations.
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) strongly support Canada's participation in the TPP negotiations. Both groups agree that since Mexico has been invited to join the talks, it only makes sense for the third member of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to join as well. However, whereas Mexico and the United States already have removed all dairy trade barriers between them, this is not the case with respect to trade between Canada and the United States-a situation which TPP must remedy, say the two organizations.
NMPF and USDEC trust that the approval by the U.S. government of Canada's participation in the TPP talks has been accompanied by a very clear understanding of U.S. expectations that all Canadian trade barriers against U.S. dairy products must be eliminated. This requirement is absolutely fundamental to gaining the groups' support.
"The U.S. dairy sector hopes to see significant gains from a well-negotiated TPP and welcomes Canada's membership as an important step towards achieving this goal," said Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of NMPF. "The United States and Canada have had a free trade agreement since 1988, but it did not include dairy products. It is time for this oversight to be changed and we welcome this opportunity to finally make that happen."
Tom Suber, president of USDEC, agreed, pointing out, "The U.S. dairy industry has tried for many years to not only gain new access to the Canadian dairy market, but also to battle Canada's attempts to undermine the value of the very limited dairy concessions granted in past WTO trade agreements. Unfortunately, we have made little headway due to high tariff quotas that continue in place despite NAFTA and repeated steps by the Canadian government to introduce new regulatory barriers to our products." Suber added, "Our industry will absolutely not support any agreement that does not address full market access for U.S. dairy products in the Canadian market."
The two organizations look forward to early negotiation with Canada on the terms outlined so that clear dairy market access opportunities can begin to be realized.