For Immediate Release
Dairy Processors Applaud House Passage of U.S.-Peru Free Trade Bill
(Washington, D.C. November 8, 2007)
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) lauded passage of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (H.R. 3688) in the U.S. House of Representatives today. The bill passed with broad bipartisan support by 285-132 and was the first major trade vote of the 110th Congress.
"The margin of victory for this bilateral trade deal signals to our trading partners that the United States is committed to trade liberalization," said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO.
Upon implementation of the agreement, U.S. dairy exporters would gain immediate duty-free and quota-free access to Peru for exports of whey and lactose. The agreement would also allow sizeable amounts of tariff-free access for U.S. cheese, ice cream and processed dairy products. U.S. dairy exports to Peru were valued at $12 million last year.
"Our dairy exports are poised to grow even more under this agreement," added Tipton.
IDFA is a strong supporter of free trade agreements that increase market access for dairy products. Exports have become increasingly important to the U.S. dairy industry. Over the last five years, the value of U.S. dairy product exports has doubled, reaching a record high of $1.8 billion in 2006. The U.S. has also concluded trade pacts with Panama, Colombia and South Korea that still need congressional approval.
According to Tipton, "A key to future continued growth of U.S dairy exports is decreasing foreign trade barriers. Congress has taken a positive step today by approving the Peru agreement, and we look forward to supporting their work on trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and Korea as well."
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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