Trade News is a periodic update that provides a concise compilation of current trade happenings and their impact on the dairy industry. This week's column by Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, discusses progress on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), geographical indications, country-of-origin labeling, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) and Cuba.
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
TPP ministers and chief negotiators met recently in Maui, Hawaii, to help conclude the TPP talks, but issues like agricultural market access may be unresolved. IDFA is seeking market access for all dairy products across all tariff lines in the TPP negotiations.
Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to the Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Gary Albert Doer, calling on Canada to finally engage on dairy market-access negotiations during this week’s ministerial meeting. A similar letter led by Representatives Reid Ribble (R-WI), Ron Kind (D-WI), David Valadao (R-CA) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) was sent to the Ambassador on July 15.
Geographical Indications (GIs)
Eight congressional leaders sent a letter on July 15 to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) objecting to an expansion of geographical indications protections that will limit the use of certain food names to a specific region or country without sufficient protections for other users of the names. They also objected to a WIPO decision to force those harmed by the changes to help fund them.
Those signing the letter were Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Ranking Member Sandy Levin (D-MI).
Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL)
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced an amendment last week that would prevent costly retaliatory tariffs by Mexico and Canada by repealing U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for muscle cuts of beef and pork. The amendment mirrors the U.S. House legislation, (HR 2392, which passed last month and would bring the United States into compliance with its World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations.
IDFA is following these actions closely. Canada and Mexico had challenged the rule for muscle cuts of meat at the WTO, which ruled against the United States in May. If COOL requirements are not removed by Congress, the U.S. dairy industry faces potential export losses through retaliation by Canada and Mexico.
IDFA is a member of the COOL Reform Coalition, which is a diverse group of associations and companies that represent U.S. food, agriculture and manufacturing industries. The coalition continues to advocate for U.S. compliance with WTO obligations.
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP)
round of negotiations was held in Brussels, Belgium, July 13-17. Although movement on reducing and eliminating tariffs has yet to happen, talks on services and regulatory are progressing. Another round is expected to be held in the fall with an aim to conclude talks in the next 12 to 18 months.
The top priorities for IDFA in the T-TIP negotiations include a reduction in tariffs and non-tariff barriers, stronger sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and protection for U.S. exporters to continue marketing common cheese names.
The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), of which IDFA is a member, this week issued a statement supporting the Cuba Trade Act of 2015 that was introduced by Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation to lift the embargo on Cuba mirrors the Senate bill that was recently introduced.
IDFA supports lifting the embargo to facilitate U.S. dairy exports to Cuba and permit open travel for all Americans to that nation.
For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at email@example.com.