July 25 2019 01:56 PM

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) issued the following statement from Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO, on the USMCA press conference held today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

"The International Dairy Foods Association commends the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for raising the voice of the business community today, calling on Congress to swiftly pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement. Our nation’s food and agriculture leaders have remained unified and consistent in our support for USMCA. Not only have more than 1,000 food and ag groups signed a letter to Congress calling for USMCA ratification, but multiple groups have coordinated advocacy days in Washington, bringing thousands of farmers, ranchers, producers, and food companies to Capitol Hill to advocate directly with their elected representatives. Just yesterday, a group of California producers and food companies visited with every California member of Congress to make our voices heard once again. Our message has remained consistent and clear: Pass USMCA now.

"Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico more than quadrupled under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), growing from $9 billion in 1993 to nearly $40 billion in 2018. NAFTA not only created a reliable, high-quality supply of food products for North American consumers, it also supported roughly 900,000 American jobs in food and agriculture and related sectors of the economy.

"USMCA builds on the success of NAFTA, makes improvements to further enhance U.S. food and agricultural exports, and will ultimately lead to freer markets and fairer trade.

"Under USMCA, dairy producers benefit from a more-level playing field, including preserving duty-free market access to Mexico, eliminating Canada’s unfair milk pricing program, and expanding access to Canada. By all accounts, USMCA will give U.S. dairy expanded market access to Canada and Mexico.

"When I speak to members of Congress one-on-one, most tell me that USMCA offers an improvement over the former NAFTA for most sectors of the U.S. economy. That is certainly true for dairy, which stands to gain more than $277 million in expanded sales to Mexico and Canada, according to an analysis by the federal government. Overall, the new trade deal would raise U.S. GDP by $68.2 billion and create about 176,000 new American jobs.

"It is essential that Congress work with the Trump Administration to get this deal done in the fall. The USMCA grows American jobs, expands U.S. export markets, and restores America’s reputation as a reliable supplier of the best food and farm products in the world. It is essential that we pass #USMCANow."

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs that generate $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.