For Immediate Release
IDFA Supports President's Call to Renew Trade Promotion Authority
(Washington, D.C. February 1, 2007) The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) applauded President Bush's call yesterday for Congress to renew his "fast-track" authority to negotiate international trade agreements. During a business speech in New York, the president urged Congress to act before the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) expires on June 30.
Under TPA, the president is free to negotiate trade deals that Congress can only approve or reject without adding amendments. Trade experts and industry groups generally agree that the president needs this authority to complete the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha round of global trade talks as well as several pending bilateral agreements.
"The U.S. dairy industry is seeking a more liberalized international dairy market, and we believe that these free trade agreements will increase market access for U.S. dairy exports," said Clay Hough, IDFA senior vice president. "We hope that TPA can be renewed so that the Doha round of talks can be completed."
Since TPA was renewed last in August 2002, Congress has passed trade agreements with a number of countries, including Chile, the Dominican Republic and five Central American countries (Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) under DR-CAFTA. Bilateral trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Peru now are pending U.S. congressional action. Each of these free trade agreements has lowered trade barriers and increased opportunities for the U.S. dairy industry in global markets.
TPA is needed to allow the administration to continue to negotiate a WTO deal which Congress can not alter. Although the WTO Doha Development round talks have been stalled since last July, trade ministers met last weekend in Switzerland and breathed new life into the negotiations. IDFA strongly supports an ambitious outcome in the Doha round discussions to decrease domestic subsidies, eliminate export subsidies and increase market access for U.S. dairy exports.
# # #
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, DC, represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 530 companies representing a $90-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org