U.S. Senators Gardner, Bennet, Colleagues Call for Enforcement of USMCA Dairy Provisions

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) joined a bipartisan group of 23 Senators in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer urging enforcement of United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) dairy provisions.

“Fair market access for American dairy farmers was a key pillar of the USMCA’s agriculture section,” wrote the Senators. “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.”

Gardner and Bennet were joined by Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Diane 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), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

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. 

Given the importance of these provisions to our dairy farmers and to American dairy exports, we ask that you use USMCA’s enforcement measures, as appropriate, to hold our trading partners accountable to their trade commitments. It is imperative that Canada and Mexico deliver upon their agreed upon commitments related to dairy products. 

Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.