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Article

Perdue Highlights Dairy Trade Issues in Congressional Testimony

May 17, 2017

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue appeared yesterday before the House Committee on Agriculture to discuss the state of U.S. agriculture and its impact on the rural economy. In his testimony, Perdue outlined the goals he aims to accomplish during his tenure as head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and noted that the department is “actively engaged in addressing the discriminatory and unfair dairy policies that Canada recently implemented.”

“Many countries do not respect fair trading rules that have already been agreed to as part of previous agreements and many others insist on enforcing trade barriers to our products that are not based on sound science,” Perdue said in his testimony. “I assure you that USDA will use all the instruments available to us to ensure our agricultural producers and products get fair treatment in foreign markets.”

To bolster these efforts, he directed the reorganization of USDA last week to focus the department’s attention on agricultural trade, consistent with direction from the 2014 Farm Bill, he said. The new undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, he said, will be responsible for coordinating agency efforts for opening new markets, protecting current ones and bringing “new energy and support to our interagency relationships with Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative.” 

Read the full testimony here.

Earlier this month, Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO, and Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president and general counsel, joined more than 40 dairy company executives and farmers in a meeting with Secretary Perdue during his first week in office. They emphasized that U.S. dairy exports currently support thousands of jobs across the nation and called for modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement in a way that would preserve and strengthen U.S. dairy market access in Mexico and reduce tariffs and nontariff barriers on U.S. exports to Canada. They also requested new commitments on sanitary and phytosanitary measures when used as trade barriers and geographical indications.

For more information, contact Dave Carlin, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy, at dcarlin@idfa.org.