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Washington Weekly: Cheese Executives Discuss Tariffs; US, Japan Set Terms on Trade Talks; Farm Bill Discussion Continues

Oct 09, 2018

Washington Weekly is IDFA’s update curating policy news from the nation’s capital. This week during IDFA’s most recent strategic fly-in, cheese company executives called for an end to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs and resulting retaliatory tariffs on U.S. cheese. Also, the United States and Japan are preparing for their first round of trade talks, and top agriculture congressional leaders are continuing farm bill negotiations.

Cheese Executives: USMCA Gains Can’t Be Realized Under Tariffs

IDFA board members, representing the U.S. cheese industry, spoke to several reporters in a briefing during IDFA’s strategic fly-in last week, stressing that any dairy gains in the new U.S-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) won’t be realized unless American steel and aluminum tariffs, and the resulting retaliations on U.S. cheese exports, are lifted. Several articles covered the comments of David Ahlem, CEO and president, Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc.; Stan Ryan, president and CEO, Darigold, Inc.; and Jim Sartori, CEO, Sartori Company.

US, Japan Set Expectations for Future Trade Talks

The United States and Japan last month agreed to start tariff-reduction talks after the United States threatened to impose sanctions on Japan’s automobile sector. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the U.S. administration would like to expand the talks to include access to Japan’s agriculture markets that is similar to access in the Japan-European Union pact. However, Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said the country does not intend to enter a full-fledged bilateral agreement. Read more here.

Hill Agriculture Leaders Discuss Farm Bill Issues

Even though the House is out of session during October, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conway, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., stayed in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., to try to hammer out key differences in the upcoming farm bill. While the agriculture leaders are not necessarily any closer to reaching consensus, there remains an urgency to get a new farm bill passed before the congressional holiday recess in December. Read more here. 

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