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Dairy Trade Dispute Panel Sides with U.S. Over Canada

Dan Dairy, Exports/Imports, Marketing, Trade

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The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is celebrating a landmark decision which found Canada is improperly restricting access to its market for U.S. dairy products in violation of its U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) commitments. The case is the first of any kind brought before a USMCA Dispute Settlement Panel and was launched with broad bipartisan support last May at the urging of NMPF and USDEC.

“The United States and Canada negotiated specific market access terms covering a wide variety of dairy products, but instead of playing by those mutually agreed upon rules, Canada ignored its commitments. As a result, U.S. dairy farmers and exporters have been unable to make full use of USMCA’s benefits,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Today’s decision is an important victory for U.S. dairy farmers and the millions of Americans whose jobs are tied to the U.S. dairy industry. America’s dairy farmers appreciate the Biden Administration’s dedication to preserving dairy export opportunities and the many members of Congress that have also stressed the importance of aggressive enforcement of dairy access rights in our trade agreements.”

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“On behalf of America’s dairy farmers and manufacturers, we want to thank Ambassador Katherine Tai for launching the dispute settlement process and Congressional leaders for strongly supporting the need to uphold USMCA’s dairy provisions. We expect Canada to abide by its trade commitments so that the American dairy industry can fully access the Canadian markets just as USMCA promised,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “While this is an essential victory, it is one step in a much longer journey. Our work to uphold the full benefits of USMCA continues, as we strive to reduce supply chain disruptions for our exports and ensure Mexico’s adherence to the dairy provisions of the USMCA, among other key matters.”

TRQs are a system of tariffs negotiated between countries that allow a predetermined quantity of imports at a specified tariff rate, where that rate is often at or near zero. Any additional imports above that predetermined quantity are subject to significantly higher tariffs. In the case of U.S. dairy products, these additional Canadian tariffs typically price U.S. dairy products out of Canada’s market, making fair access to Canadian dairy TRQs vital to maximizing exports to that market.

While the U.S. tried to resolve the matter through consultations with Canada before initiating the Dispute Settlement Panel, Canada refused to change its policies.