Wisconsin Senators raise concerns over USMCA enforcement

Ag Report
Ag Report- Positive outlook for Wisconsin-s dairy industry_84420980-159532

(WFRV) – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) are among a bipartisan group of Senators, asking the Trump administration to enforce United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement dairy provisions.

 Dear Secretary Perdue and Ambassador Lighthizer, 

Fair market access for American dairy farmers was a key pillar of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) agriculture section. USMCA is poised to create new export opportunities for America’s dairy industry and a more equitable playing field for American dairy exports in Mexico and Canada, but effective implementation will be critical to realizing these gains.

We share the same concerns – outlined below – as expressed in a recent letter sent to the Administration by our colleagues in the House.

Enforcement of USMCA’s dairy provisions is critical, and we ask you to ensure compliance in the following areas:

  • Canadian dairy commitment compliance:
    • Dairy Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) Administration: One of the most pressing priorities is how Canada handles its USMCA TRQ commitments. Unfortunately, Canada’s announced TRQ administration procedures appear to run counter to numerous USMCA provisions. Canada must administer its TRQs fairly and in a manner consistent with its obligations under USMCA; it cannot be allowed to administer TRQs in a manner that discourages utilization or restricts the ability of the U.S. dairy industry to completely fill the established TRQs at advantageous price points.
    • Elimination of Class 6 and 7: Another area of equally important concern is ensuring that the hard-fought benefits from USMCA’s elimination of Canada’s Class 6 and 7 milk pricing classes are fully realized. Canada must not be permitted to effectively recreate the harmful impacts of Canada’s highly trade-distortive Classes 6 and 7 milk pricing programs. Canada must implement its commitments to eliminate these programs with full transparency, clearly establish prices for any new classes based on the end use of dairy products, and ensure that export surcharges for certain dairy products are implemented properly.
  • Mexico common names commitment compliance:
    • Enforcement of Common Names Side Letters: There are important implementation issues for Mexico as well, namely the work needed to translate Mexico’s commitments via two USMCA side letters pertaining to commonly used cheese terms into practice in its regulations so that all prior users’ rights are upheld and that all the common cheese names specified under the agreement are respected.

You can see the actual document at https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/USMCADairyenforcementletterAugust2020.pdf

According to Senator Baldwin’s press team, The letter was also signed by Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim Risch (R-ID), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Patty Murray (D-WA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

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