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President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) Tom Vilsack today led a roundtable discussion hosted by the Michigan Farm Bureau to rally support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement. Vilsack was joined by leaders from across the political spectrum and the agriculture, small business and manufacturing industries.

“The significance of USMCA extends far beyond the farm – it will make a positive difference for millions of America’s farmers, workers and consumers,” Vilsack said. “USMCA will modernize NAFTA, improving the rules governing trade with Canada and Mexico and securing valuable export opportunities for high-quality dairy products and other Made-in-Michigan goods. It’s time for Washington to act quickly to deliver on USMCA and revitalize our trade relationships with our North American neighbors."

Exports play a key role in Michigan’s economy, making the passage of USMCA vitally important to the state. Michigan exported $37.4 billion in goods to Canada and Mexico in 2017. USDEC estimates that dairy exports from Michigan’s approximately 1,500 dairy farms and 50 dairy plants create more than 6,000 jobs in Michigan and have an economic impact of $636 million.

Ultimately the dairy sector stands to gain more than $314 million in expanded sales to Canada, Mexico and other global markets as a result of USMCA, according to estimates from the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Other roundtable attendees included Rick Johnson, former Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives; Ken Nobis, Senior Policy Advisor at Michigan Milk Producers Association; Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan and former Lieutenant Governor of Michigan; and Chuck Hadden, president and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association.

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 U.S. Dairy Export Council prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital status, military status, and arrest or conviction record.