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Congressional leaders push for dairy fixes

Photo by Anna Hastert

The dairy industry today faces many challenges. One of the top concerns among United States dairy producers is trade. The industry commends Congressional leaders for their attempt to change policy within the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as U.S., Canada and Mexico look to wrap-up negotiations.

Sixty-eight members of Congress on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. In the letter, Congressional members urge the Administration to eliminate Canada’s trade-distorting Class 7 pricing program and dairy tariff walls.

National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) spokesperson Chris Galen hopes the letter will lead to a more free exchange of goods and services under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Canada and (it’s) dairy policies have gone in the opposite direction. They’ve made it harder for the U.S. and other countries to sell products there and harder for the U.S. to compete in global markets. Canada has a flagrantly anti-trade, very protectionist stance in the marketplace. That’s what we need the NAFTA talks to change,” Galen said.

Galen says United States producers have been unable to export large amounts of dairy product into Canada for several decades. He adds market access has further decreased within the last year.

“In recent years, the U.S. was able to sell ultra-filtered milk, which is concentrated milk proteins for use in dairy processing. A year ago, Canada created a new pricing program, what they call their Class 7 pricing system – that was designed expressly to choke off those exports of filtered milk from the U.S. Unfortunately, it’s having an added ripple effect in that it’s also undercutting U.S. dairy exports around the world,” Galen said.

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