On Friday, Ambassador Katherine Tai and Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc., toured Hamburg Hills Farm, an Organic Valley member located in Stoddard, Wisc., and hosted a roundtable with local farmers and small business owners. Several dairy farmers had the opportunity to voice their concerns and priorities for dairy exports with Ambassador Tai and highlight the impact of trade policy on American dairy producers.
In a readout from the USTR office, it notes Tai emphasized the importance of making sure farmers, including those from small and family-owned farms, and agricultural workers have a seat at the table as trade policy is developed. She also discussed the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s commitment to ensuring that farmers can bring their products to new markets and expand their customer bases.
U.S. Dairy Export Council and the National Milk Producers Federation members participating in the event emphasized the need for greater market access for dairy products and the impediments trade barriers pose to greater international trade. At the event, dairy farmers belonging to NMPF and USDEC members Associated Milk Producers, Inc., Dairy Farmers of America, FarmFirst, and Organic Valley, among others, praised Kind for his leadership as he continues to encourage the Biden administration to work toward greater opportunities in international markets.
“We’re grateful that Ambassador Tai and hardworking USTR staff are pursuing a dispute settlement case to finally secure Canadian market access granted under USMCA,” says Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “We look forward to working with Ambassador Tai, Representative Kind, and their staff to reduce foreign trade barriers through country-to-country dialogues and new trade agreements.”
International Dairy Foods Association Vice President of Trade Policy and International Affairs Becky Rasdall says Tai’s trip to Wisconsin is another positive development for American dairy.
“Since her appointment, Ambassador Tai has demonstrated a commitment to U.S. dairy producers and processors. She has signaled her intention to defend the industry from unfair barriers to trade and has made the industry feel welcome in discussions with her team,” Rasdall says.
Rasdall explains the most pressing priorities for U.S. dairy are the dispute settlement case over Canada’s manipulation of dairy tariff rate quotas under USMCA and an urgent matter related to the European Commission, which is in the process of implementing non-science-based certification regulations that will all but wipe out U.S. dairy’s access to European Union nations and will threaten global infant formula supplies.
Krysta Harden, USDEC president and CEO, says USDEC appreciates both of Tai’s and Kind’s personal efforts to ensure Canada meets its tariff-rate quota obligations under USMCA. Harden explains, “We’re thrilled the ambassador could visit the farm to see for herself how America’s dairy farmers are producing for the global marketplace.”
“Just as important is understanding how the United States plans to engage in trade negotiations moving forward. Without Trade Promotion Authority, U.S. dairy’s hopes of broadening our access in target markets such as Southeast Asia are waning,” she adds. “Obtaining and expanding market share abroad is critical to U.S. dairy manufacturers and exporters. The global dairy industry is more competitive than ever, so we greatly appreciate Congressman Kind hosting Ambassador Tai on a dairy to provide tangible examples of why the U.S. dairy value chain depends on international trade.”