Leaders in the Idaho dairy industry, including Idaho Dairymen's Association and Glanbia Foods, Inc, thank Senator Mike Crapo for his work in the U.S. Senate urging the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the United States Trade Representative to ensure the competitiveness of U.S. dairy exports by opening up the global dairy market during continuing negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) international trade agreement. Along with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Crapo is asking his colleagues in the United States Senate to help underscore the message to trade negotiators that trade agreements must be fair to U.S. dairy farmers and processors. The U.S. is helping to lead the 11 country trade talks.

The concern about U.S. competitiveness in the wake of a new agreement comes from the fact that two countries in the talks have tightly-controlled dairy markets. For example, more than 90% of New Zealand's milk supply and exports are controlled by just one company. "Dairy producers and processors in our states are deeply concerned that this market concentration policy provides New Zealand, the world's largest dairy exporter, with a tremendous advantage in global markets and are insistent on seeing it effectively addressed as a necessary precursor to any expansion of U.S.-New Zealand dairy trade in TPP," say the senators in the letter.

Canada, our neighbor to the north and a natural potential customer for Idaho dairy, maintains longstanding quotas on domestic production, stiff import tariffs, and restricted use of imported dairy ingredients. "To be truly effective, dairy discussions with Canada should include a focus not only on removing tariffs but also on ensuring that various forms of nontariff barriers are not employed to hinder U.S. dairy exports," say Crapo and Schumer.

The dairy industry in this country is excited about the opportunity to open potential new markets as a result of a completed TPP but caution that the agreement must require reforms by countries that currently exclude U.S. products from their markets.