Author: Victor Corral Martinez

A bipartisan coalition of 104 House members is calling on the Trump administration to hold Canada and Mexico to their commitments on dairy trade in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

In a letter to U.S. Trade representative Robert Lighthizer and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, the lawmakers urged the administration to swiftly use consultation and enforcement measures to ensure Canada and Mexico deliver on all their obligations related to dairy products.

The effort was led by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Reps. Ron Kind, D-Wis.; Tom Reed, R-N.Y.; Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa.; Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y.; Russ Fulcher, R-Idaho; Xochitl Torres Small, D.-N.M; and Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio.

Of specific concern are Canada’s administration of dairy tariff rate quotas and elimination of its Class 6 and 7 dairy pricing programs and Mexico’s compliance to market access for U.S. cheeses with common names.

Those concerns have been raised by the U.S. Dairy Export Council and National Milk Producers Federation even before USMCA was implemented.

In June, Canada announced TRQ allocations that appear to run counter to several USMCA provisions, Shawna Morris, vice president for trade for both organizations, told Capital Press in July.

The TRQ are “overly tilted toward Canadian processors who in many cases have a disincentive to import competing product, particularly higher value products,” she said.

For example, 80% to 85% of the quantities for all the dairy TRQ have been granted to Canadian processors, leaving a small amount for distributors and cutting out retailers who have the strongest incentives to purchase U.S. product, she said.

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