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  July 2nd, 2014 | Written by

Dairy Groups Demand Greater Market Access

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Washington, DC – Two major US dairy industry groups are saying they will oppose any transpacific trade pact if Japan and Canada “continue to limit their markets to increased US dairy exports.”

Japan and Canada “are dragging their feet…and US negotiators must insist on “meaningful dairy market access,” the National Milk Producers Federation and the US Dairy Export Council said in a recent letter to US Trade Representative, Michael Froman and Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.

The two industry groups said Canada “would probably be guided by Japan in deciding on any changes to its dairy market access” and that any negotiations to forge the Transpacific Partnership (TTP) would have to address New Zealand government programs that are seen to benefit Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy exporter that controls nearly a third of global dairy trade.

“Our support for TPP is not unconditional,” said the letter, signed by 39 US dairy companies and cooperatives.

“The elements cited here, which largely remain unresolved, must be concluded in a positive manner or our industry will find it difficult to support the final agreement.”

The TPP’s stated goal is to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to goods and services trade. USTR Michael Froman said after the Singapore round of TPP talks in May that the US “is pressing for tariffs to be eliminated to the maximum extent possible.”

A spokesman for Froman said the US “had made it clear to trading partners that it expected the final TPP agreement to reflect the ambitious goals all countries signed up to.”

Like all exporters, he added, “America’s dairy farmers have a lot to gain through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and we are working hard to unlock opportunities for them throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”

The TPP would consist of 12 nations that account for two-fifths of the world economy and a third of global trade.