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TPP Can’t Be a Template for Future Agreements, IDFA Says

Feb 18, 2016

After months of review and consideration, IDFA said it supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement “on balance,” but TPP cannot become the template for future free trade agreements. While praising U.S. negotiators for important breakthroughs on geographical indications and fully enforceable sanitary and phytosanitary rules, IDFA expressed disappointment with the extremely limited market access gains for U.S. dairy in Canada and Japan.

IDFA filed its comments last week with the U.S. International Trade Commission, which is investigating the probable economic effects of TPP in the United States if the agreement gains final approval from the 12 participating nations.

“The successful negotiation of ambitious trade agreements is vital to the future growth of America’s dairy industry,” IDFA said in its comments, noting that new rules adopted in TPP will prevent geographical indications from “being abused” to block the use of common food names in the United States and other TPP markets. In addition, U.S. negotiators achieved a new set of sanitary and phytosanitary rules that are stronger than those held by the World Trade Organization and, for the first time, will be fully enforceable under the agreement’s dispute settlement chapter.

In terms of market access, however, IDFA expressed concern that the final agreement represents a lost opportunity for America’s dairy exports.

“IDFA continues to support TPP, but urges the Commission to make it clear to this and future Administrations that all future U.S. free trade agreements must lead to a comprehensive opening of foreign markets to U.S. dairy exports,” IDFA said.

The comments outlined several key outcomes that IDFA considers necessary for successful trade deals in the future:

  • the complete elimination of tariffs and tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) on all U.S. dairy products,
  • rules on geographical indications that track TPP and protect common food product names,
  • a strong, enforceable chapter on sanitary and phytosanitary rules modeled on TPP, and
  • the elimination of non-scientific sanitary and phytosanitary rules that act as barriers to trade.

Adhering to these outcomes in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) agreement and future accessions to TPP are extremely important, IDFA said. Certain countries that have expressed interest in joining TPP in a second round represent major potential markets for U.S. dairy.

For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at           
Dairy Delivers