Concluding a successful two-day summit here, leaders of U.S. and Mexican dairy industry organizations yesterday pledged to work together to boost trade between the two countries, address mutual challenges and increase dairy consumption while also promoting milk production on both sides of the border.
The dairy leaders signed a memorandum creating a US-Mexico Dairy Alliance that will meet annually to exchange information, review industry trends, and identify and seek solutions for problems affecting either side.
Also in the plan going forward will be ways to further reduce trade barriers between the two countries and defend against efforts to capture generic cheese names like parmesan, asiago and feta for the exclusive use of some European producers.
Signing the memorandum for the United States were Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, and Tom Suber, president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Signing for Mexico were Salvador Álvarez Morán, president of the Mexico Livestock Association (CNOG) and Juan Carlos Pardo, president of the National Chamber of Industrial Milk (CANILEC).
Mulhern and Suber characterized the summit as re-energizing a relationship forged under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into force in 1994. Mulhern described NAFTA as an example of a trade agreement that substantially benefits both countries.
"Since NAFTA, our markets have converged seeing both U.S. and Mexican dairy farmers growing. U.S. dairy exports to Mexico have increased significantly, while Mexico's internal milk production has also seen expansion."
"At the same time," added Suber, "volatile markets, increased imports from third countries and consumer misinformation about dairy products pose challenges for the dairy industries in both countries that can be best solved through both industries working together."
Formal goals of the U.S.-Mexico Dairy Alliance include unifying efforts of dairy producers and industries in both countries, maintaining a communication channel between the industry organizations, and analyzing and seeking mutually beneficial solutions to problems affecting the dairy industry in both countries.