The United States, Canada and Mexico kicked off the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa. One topic of key importance in the trading relationship between the United States and Canada has been Canada’s persistent undermining of US dairy export access, a pattern that has cost American dairy farmers and processors hundreds of millions of dollars.
Most recently, Canada has instituted a new pricing policy at the provincial level that is designed to discourage Canadian processors from using imported dairy products.
Canada erecting barriers to US dairy trade
The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) expressed appreciation for the Obama Administration's attention to the harmful impact on US dairy exports caused by Canada's continual erection of nontariff trade barriers. The 2 organisations underscored the importance of high-level discussions this week on Canada's actions on dairy, and how they hurt the US-Canada trading relationship.
US dairy farmers feeling negative impact
"America's dairy farmers rely on exports to provide a home for the equivalent of a day's worth of milk production each week," said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. "When other countries disingenuously use policies and regulations to block those sales – especially in light of previously negotiated free trade agreements – the negative impact is felt on the farm. This is particularly damaging in tough years like this when milk supplies exceed demand. We hope President Obama will continue to hold our trading partners accountable, particularly those with whom we're preparing to deepen our trade ties, such as Trans-Pacific Partnership members."
Playing by the rules
Tom Suber, President of USDEC, echoed that point: "US companies have made investments here at home, adding more jobs and expanding manufacturing facilities, to meet the demands of global buyers – including those in Canada. Our industry recognises that we need to play by the rules – it's only right that the US insist that others do so, as well."
NMPF and USDEC both support the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both organisations, however, have stressed the importance of ensuring that the agreement works in practice as envisioned on paper and the importance of Canada's compliance with existing obligations in achieving that result.