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Big Win for Dairy Farmers after Bipartisan Push Against Unfair Trade Practices

New Ruling on Major Trade Dispute Comes After Senators Crapo and Smith’s Efforts to Ensure Fair Playing Field for American Dairy Exports

Washington, D.C.--On National Milk Day, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, lauded a major victory for U.S. dairy farmers after joining with U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) to spearhead congressional efforts to hold Canada accountable for violations of a key trade agreement.  

“Enforcing our trade agreements to open dairy markets with our trading partners will feed our neighbors and create jobs at home,” said Crapo.  “This is a huge victory in tearing down further barriers for Idaho’s and the nation’s dairies.  This decision will further unlock the promises of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) and meet the needs of our 21st Century producers.” 

“Idaho dairy producers support free trade and welcome competition when the playing field is level,” said Rick Naerebout, CEO of the Idaho Dairymen’s Association.  “The Idaho Dairymen’s Association thanks Senator Crapo for leading the bipartisan effort in Congress to ensure that our trading partners in Canada meet the commitments for U.S. dairy access to their market that were made in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).” 

“Greater access to global markets is critical to dairy farmers in Idaho and elsewhere across America.  That’s why it’s been so important for the U.S. to defend the full dairy export benefits USMCA has to offer.  Senator Crapo has been a champion in fighting for the export rights of dairy farmers and dairy manufacturers like Darigold through his sustained insistence on ensuring USMCA is fully and faithfully implemented,” said Allan Huttema, Chairman of Northwest Dairy Association.  “The onus is now on Canada to follow through and make the necessary changes to come into compliance with its USMCA dairy obligations.  The U.S. government should ensure that nothing short of full compliance by Canada is accepted.” 

In July 2021, Allan Huttema, an Idahoan from Parma and Chairman of the Northwest Dairy Association and Darigold Board of Directors, provided testimony before a Senate Finance Committee hearing on USMCA enforcement and implementation. 

In August 2020, Senators Crapo and Smith led a bipartisan letter with 25 additional colleagues identifying dairy-related provisions not being upheld in the USMCA.  In their letter, the Senators urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative to use USMCA’s enforcement measures to ensure full compliance from Canada and Mexico with the trade deal. 

A USMCA panel recently ruled in favor of the U.S., agreeing that Canada is breaching its commitments.  Specifically, the panel ruled that Canada is reserving most of the in-quota quantity in its dairy tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for the exclusive use of Canadian processors, a breach of the USMCA Senators Crapo and Smith raised in their letter. 

This historic win is an important step to eliminating unjustified trade restrictions on American dairy products, and will ensure that the U.S. dairy industry and its workers get the full benefit of the USMCA to market and sell U.S. products to Canadian consumers.