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Statement from Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO, International Dairy Foods Association on Section 232 tariffs

May 17, 2019

Matt Herrick, (202) 220-3537

Matt Herrick

(Washington, D.C. – March 29, 2019) The International Dairy Foods Association issued the following statement from Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO, International Dairy Foods Association on Section 232 tariffs

“On behalf of our more than 500 members across the dairy industry, the International Dairy Foods Association is very pleased with news of this comprehensive agreement to remove Section 232 tariffs as well as retaliatory tariffs, delivering a more level playing field for U.S. dairy with our North American partners. In addition to removing the existing retaliatory tariffs, it also prevents future retaliatory tariffs on U.S. food and agricultural products. We applaud the Trump Administration as well as the governments of Mexico and Canada for prevailing with a market-principled approach. With this deal in place, it is now essential that Congress turn its attention to swift ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to ensure that we are maintaining and growing markets with our most important trading partners, especially in this time of uncertainty for our agricultural economy. Mexico and Canada—our number 1 and 2 markets, respectively—are absolutely essential to our future success. The USMCA includes important improvements that will expand exports of American dairy products to Canada and Mexico while enabling dairy products to trade freely. Congress must move quickly to approve the deal and restore certainty to our dairy producers and processors. Just as important, as the U.S. approaches negotiations with Japan, China, the EU and other nations, it is critical that we maintain market access for our dairy industry, and move toward a market-principled approach on trade.”


Trade with Canada and Mexico supports more than 12 million American jobs in every state in the country. For food and agriculture, Canada and Mexico are the two top markets, buying American grains, dairy products, meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Nearly one-third of U.S. agricultural exports valued at approximately $40 billion go to our North American neighbors, supporting more than 300,000 American jobs.

The International Trade Commission’s recent analysis of USMCA found that the deal will be a boon for the U.S. economy, raising U.S. GDP by $68.2 billion and pumping an additional $2.2 billion, or 1.1%, into the U.S. economy through increases in agricultural and food exports. For dairy, the ITC expects exports of U.S. dairy products to increase by more than $277 million overall—rising $227.0 million to Canada and $50.6 million to Mexico, respectively.

Last July, Mexico imposed a 25% tariff on U.S. cheese exports in retaliation to Section 232 tariffs imposed on Mexican aluminum and steel imports by the U.S. IDFA has continued to urge the Administration to lift the Section 232 tariffs.

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports nearly 3 million jobs that generate more than $161 billion in wages and has an overall economic impact of more than $628 billion. IDFA members range from multinational organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent approximately 90 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. The diverse membership includes numerous food retailers, suppliers, cooperatives and companies that offer a wide variety of nutritional dairy products and dairy-derived ingredients. 

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