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World Trade Organization

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The Importance of the World Trade Organization to the IDFA

The International Dairy Foods Association believes that multilateral negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) provide the best and most important opportunity to strengthen international trade rules.  The IDFA hopes the product of such negotiations will remove advantages or protections and truly open markets for U.S. dairy products and dairy-containing foods.

Regional and bilateral free trade agreements are able to provide important trade-opening opportunities, such as the success of NAFTA, however they can foster unfair competition.  Subsidized dairy products will continue to be a disadvantage to U.S. dairy foods exporters until distortions from European dairy subsidies are removed from the international marketplace. The most effective means of eliminating the trade distortions of European Union is through WTO reforms.

The IDFA continues to stand by the WTO's Doha Development Round as a means to foster growth in international trade and increase opportunities for U.S. dairy exporters.  The Doha Round suffered two failed multilateral trade rounds (ministerial), in 2008.  Both of which had aimed for agreement on framework packages known as modalities. There are multiple issues preventing a convergence of these modalities.  The hitting of such pressure points as special safeguard mechanisms (SSMs), non-agricultural market access (NAMA) and agriculture were the same in the July and December rounds.  

Despite the lack of progress, IDFA continues to support Doha and hopes for a successful completion in the future.

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