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Congressional Leaders Urge Action on Canadian Trade Barriers
March 12, 2013

A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers, including seven members of Wisconsin’s
congressional delegation, are urging Obama administration officials to take
steps to prevent Canada from imposing new barriers to U.S. dairy exports. In a
letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk on
Monday, the group said their states are well positioned to take advantage of
opportunities in the Canadian market–but only if that country does not move to
block U.S. dairy imports.

“Dairy exports are critical to Wisconsin’s economy, and Canada has long been a valued trading partner for both Wisconsin and the United States,” said La Crosse Democrat Ron Kind, who is one of the leaders of the effort with New York Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican. “We need to act now to avoid damaging new trade policies that could harm our dairy farmers and weaken the flow of commerce between our two countries.”

The memo states that the potential action by Canada this spring could negativeily impact the sale of U.S. dairy products to our neighbors to the north. It went on to say
that such actions could put a strain on U.S.-Canada trade relations, which has
been moving in a positive direction in recent years.

“Despite the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Canadian dairy market remains extremely inaccessible to U.S. dairy products,” the letter said. “In addition to imposing tariffs of approximately 250- to 300-percent for most dairy products, Canada has in recent years been implementing measures designed to undermind the value of concessions and access granted to the U.S. in prior trade
agreements.”

One of those incidents relates to the Cheese Compositional Standards that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency implemented in 2007, as well as the current effort to restrict those standards further in order to benefit domestic producers.

Among the Wisconsin lawmakers to sign the letter include Reps. Kind, Sean Duffy, Gwen Moore, Tom Petri, Mark Pocan, Reid Ribble and Jim Sensenbrenner; along with 10 other New York representatives.

Source: Wisconsin Ag Connection



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