Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
A bipartisan delegation of 22 New York legislators wrote to President Obama last week, urging his administration to “take all necessary action” to eliminate Canada’s unfair barriers to U.S. dairy exports. The letter, signed by Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and 20 members of the House of Representatives, appeared in the Oct. 4 issue of the Watertown Daily Times, a New York newspaper.
Also last week, Schumer urged administration officials to take more aggressive action against Canadian protectionist trade policies. In calls to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman, Schumer decried Canada’s recent proposal to prop up its dairy markets at the expense of milk imports from the United States, calling it “an affront to current U.S.-Canadian trade agreements.”
Schumer was referring to a Canadian Agreement in Principle recently concluded between Canada’s dairy producers and processors. The agreement, which is undergoing finalization and review in Canada, would provide an incentive to substitute Canadian dairy ingredients for imported dairy ingredients and would unfairly subsidize exports of Canadian dairy products. If ratified, the agreement would take effect November 1, 2016.
“Canada’s new restrictive dairy trade and pricing policies fly directly in the face of fair trade agreements signed by the U.S. and Canada,” Schumer said. “These kinds of policies are putting New York’s dairy farmers in grave jeopardy – so we must send a strong message to Canada that punitive and anti-fair trade dairy policies are not acceptable.”
New York is one of the top milk-producing states in the country.
The legislators’ efforts came just weeks after IDFA and dairy organizations around the world issued a joint letter requesting officials in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, the United States and the European Union Commission to initiate a World Trade Organization dispute settlement proceeding to challenge the agreement once its details are announced.
For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.