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Carlin Testifies Before Administration Panel; Calls for Dairy Progress in UK Trade Pact

Jan 30, 2019

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative this week held a hearing to investigate the likely impact of a U.S.-United Kingdom (UK) free trade agreement on the American economy, specific industry sectors and consumers. A total of 24 industry groups and stakeholders were invited to provide testimony, including Dave Carlin, IDFA senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy.

In his testimony, Carlin outlined the importance of global trade and new free trade agreements to the U.S. dairy industry. He noted that the United States now benefits from a dairy trade surplus of more than $2 billion, after being a net importer of dairy products only a decade ago, and that American companies export dairy products to more than 140 countries.

The UK has the potential to be a large export market for the U.S. dairy industry because it is a net importer of dairy products, Carlin said. In 2017, the UK imported $3.1 billion worth of dairy products. Of that, only $8.8 million was from the United States, while $3 billion was from the European Union (EU).

“Assuming tariffs are eliminated, there are opportunities for the United States to export larger amounts of cheese, butter, whey and milk powders as well as cream, yogurt, buttermilk, and condensed milk to the UK,” Carlin said.

Geographical Indications

Carlin also urged the administration to oppose any effort by the UK to adopt geographical indications (GIs) regulations from the EU that ban companies from using cheese names that are commonly used internationally and in the U.S. market.

“The EU’s desire to turn back the clock and claw back names that had already become generic is an outrage to the many U.S. companies – small and large –that helped build the markets for these products, as well as to the industry as a whole through the incorrect suggestion that our use of these terms has not been legitimate,” Carlin said.

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, he said, it is critical the region not adopt any EU regulations that would curtail U.S. dairy exports.

“Otherwise, any benefit or gains made in market access will not be realized,” Carlin said.

Technical Barriers

Carlin also called for strong sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) provisions to be incorporated in the bilateral pact with the UK to ensure the U.S. dairy industry can compete on a level playing field. He asked the commission to use the provisions included in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as examples of ways to address technical barriers to trade.

Read the testimony here.

For more information, contact Carlin at dcarlin@idfa.org.

 
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