U.S. dairy organizations and the state departments of agriculture across the country today told President-elect Donald Trump that Canada’s existing and soon-to-be-expanded protectionist policies are intentionally designed to block imports from the United States. These policies are in direct violation of Canada’s trade commitments under the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization, said IDFA, NMPF, NASDA and USDEC in a letter urging the president-elect and his key cabinet members to take immediate action.
The letter to Trump outlined estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that show each $1 billion of U.S. dairy exports generates more than 20,000 jobs for Americans and almost $3 billion of economic output. U.S. dairy suppliers are reporting that they are already losing business because of these programs, demonstrating that Canada’s actions are resulting in lost revenues and jobs for dairy farmers and processors across the United States.
“This negative impact is conservatively estimated at $150 million worth of ultra-filtered milk exports being lost by companies in Wisconsin and New York, which are highly reliant on their trade with Canada. In fact, the entire U.S. dairy industry is being hurt, as milk prices are being driven down nationally by Canada’s trade actions,” the groups said. “Having an even wider impact on America’s dairy farmers and processors, additional large volumes of skim milk powder will be forced onto the thinly traded global market resulting in a further depression of prices that will negatively impact the revenues of dairy farmers around the world.”
The letter sent to Trump was signed by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA).
Canada is Flouting Trade Obligations
The U.S. dairy industry is already restricted by Canada’s exorbitant tariffs, they said, and only limited market access is granted under NAFTA. Canada is one of America’s top trading partners, yet the country is clearly flouting its trade obligations by implementing and enforcing these policies.
“The U.S. dairy industry is highly competitive internationally, and overseas markets represent a vital source of future growth opportunities including thousands of new American jobs,” the groups said. “Not long ago, the United States was a net importer of dairy products, but now our nation benefits from a dairy trade surplus of over $2 billion. Enforcement of current trade agreements, whether bilateral or multilateral in nature, is central to strengthening the U.S. economy.”
Copied on the letter were several Cabinet nominees, including Robert Lighthizer, the Trump Administration’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, along with the leaders and members of the House and Senate agricultural committees. Read the letter here.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies within a $125-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's nearly 200 dairy processing members run nearly 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Its mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and overseas in Mexico, South America, Asia, Middle East and Europe.
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the wellbeing of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. Visit www.nmpf.org for more information.
NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories. NASDA grows and enhances agriculture by forging partnerships and creating consensus to achieve sound policy outcomes between state departments of agriculture, the federal government, and stakeholders.