Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Stefanik lead a New York delegation letter today along with Rep. John Katko (NY-24) and Rep. Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer urging him to ensure that Canada does not distribute tariff-rate quotas (TRQ’s), which undermine the intent of the dairy provisions of the USMCA by hindering the ability of the U.S. dairy industry to fully utilize the Canadian market access that the trade agreement provides. The letter also urges the USTR to ensure that Canada upholds its end of the agreement by eliminating the Class 6 and 7 milk price classification in a way that ensures that the harmful classifications do not reappear under a different name at some point in the future. These provisions were key wins for the United States dairy industry during USMCA negotiations, and Congresswoman Stefanik and her colleagues are requesting that Canada upholds its end of the agreement.
“Our dairy farms and processors are critical to the success of our rural communities and economies, and they need a fair and reasonable trade policy to keep valuable market access, especially as they recover from the market disruptions that they faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “I will continue to work directly with the Administration and my House colleagues in order to ensure that the USMCA agreement is fully implemented the way it was intended, and that all our partners uphold their end of the agreement. I will continue to advocate for results like the USMCA, which will play a vital role in helping to rebuild and restart our North Country economy.
“I voted in support of the USMCA because it provided key wins for agricultural producers in our region. Importantly, this new trade agreement aims to protect against Canadian trade practices that have created devastating market conditions for local dairy farmers,” said Congressman Katko. “Today, with the USMCA going into effect, I’m joining members of New York’s Congressional Delegation in urging U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer to ensure strong enforcement of the agreement’s critical dairy provisions. Given the important role that agriculture plays in Central New York’s economy, it is critical that we provide fair market access for our dairy farmers and establish strong protections against anti-competitive trade practices.”
“We worked hard to pass the USMCA in a commonsense, bipartisan way to help American farmers, manufacturers, and workers,” said Congressman Brindisi. “Upstate New York dairy farmers drive millions of dollars into our local and national economies, and especially as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, they need our unwavering support. I will keep working with Democrats, Republicans, and the Administration to ensure that our neighbors uphold their end of the USMCA and that all our trade deals put American farmers first.”
“The USMCA will continue key trade opportunities for New York farmers at a critical time for farmers who are struggling to recover from COVID-19 losses and a down agricultural economy. Nearly half of our state’s agricultural exports go to our North American neighbors, providing vital market opportunities that will remain open thanks to USMCA,” said NYFB President David Fisher. “The assurance that this agreement provides to farmers, plus the potential for expected growth for our dairy farms, are reasons for a positive outlook on USMCA. New York Farm Bureau would like to thank members of the New York Congressional delegation for their efforts to ensure that dairy provisions found in the USMCA are upheld and provide market access for New York dairy producers.”
“USMCA requires Canada to provide long-sought new market access for U.S. dairy products and to eliminate its destructive Classes 6 and 7 milk pricing schemes,” said Jaime Castaneda, Senior Vice President for Policy Strategy and International Trade, National Milk Producers Federation & U.S. Dairy Export Council. “Canada’s efforts to evade the commitments they made to the U.S. on dairy by manipulating their agreed-upon trade obligations are wholly unacceptable. Representatives Stefanik, Brindisi, and Katko played a critical role in the passage of USMCA last year and we appreciate their leadership on behalf of Upstate New York dairy farmers.”
Find a copy of the letter here.