IDFA joined a coalition of 15 dairy companies and organizations this week to oppose further restrictions on U.S. access to the tight Canadian cheese market. The coalition opposes a plan that would significantly reduce access for U.S. exports to enter Canada through low-tariff avenues by reserving a much larger slice of Canadian market access for the European Union.
The plan also violates the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which bars countries from using free trade agreements to restrict trade.
In a recent letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the organizations said the plan would give the EU exclusive access to more than 70 percent of Canada’s “Most Favored Nation” cheese imports. They urged the officials to ask Canada “to abide by their obligations under GATT and refrain from implementing this provision” in the pending Canada-European Union free trade agreement.
The agreement also would bar U.S. companies from using several common cheese names on products exported to Canada.
“The concessions granted to the EU by Canada are disconcerting for IDFA and U.S. cheese exporters, and we will continue to support improved, not diminished, market access for U.S. dairy exports,” said Clay Hough, senior group vice president for IDFA. “Going forward, as negotiations continue in the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (T-TIP) between the United States and the EU, protecting common cheese names will be a top priority for IDFA.”
In addition to IDFA, the companies and organizations in the new coalition are:
- Atalanta Corp., Elizabeth, N.J.
- Darigold, Seattle, Wash.
- Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, Mo.
- Emmi Roth USA, Monroe, Wis.
- Fonterra (USA) Inc., Rosemont, Ill.
- Gellert Global Group, Elizabeth, N.J.
- Kraft Foods Group, Inc., Northfield, Ill.
- Land O’ Lakes Inc., St. Paul, Minn.
- MCT Dairies, Millburn, N.J.
- Norseland, Darien, Conn.
- Sartori Cheese, Plymouth, Wis.
- Tipico Products, Lakewood, N.J.
- Trugman Nash Inc., Millburn, N.J.
- U.S. Dairy Export Council, Arlington, Va.
- Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Madison, Wis.
For more information, contact Beth Hughes, director of international affairs for IDFA, at email@example.com.