January 28, 2005

Idaho Delegation Voices Concern Over Australian Trade Agreement

Urge President to consider U.S. dairy producers

WASHINGTON, DC â?? Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo and Idaho Congressmen Mike Simpson and C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter, along with their colleagues in Congress, sent a letter today to President Bush and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick urging them to consider the impact on U.S. dairy producers of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) being negotiated between the United States and Australia. The delegation wrote:â??In particular, we want you to ensure that our dairy industry, especially dairy producers, will not suffer undue hardships if this agreement is put in place. Improper treatment of dairy in the U.S. â?? Australia FTA could concentrate Australiaâ??s exporting focus largely on the U.S., as we are one of the worldâ??s largest and most attractive markets for dairy products...We ask that you take into account the livelihoods and families of the many dairy producers in our states during your negotiations.â??The full text of the letter is attached. The PresidentThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NWWashington, DC 20500Dear Mr. President:We are writing to express our deep concern about the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations that are underway between the United States and Australia. These negotiations could have dire consequences for several of Americaâ??s agricultural industries, including the dairy industry, unless your administration exercises great caution in drafting the trading terms that would apply under the negotiated FTA.In particular, we want you to ensure that our dairy industry, especially dairy producers, will not suffer undue hardships if this agreement is put in place. Improper treatment of dairy in the U.S. â?? Australia FTA could concentrate Australiaâ??s exporting focus largely on the U.S., as we are one of the worldâ??s largest and most attractive markets for dairy products. If the U.S. gives Australia significantly increased access to our dairy market, this will greatly undermine milk prices, thwarting federal efforts to support dairy producers and their families.The United States is home to thousands of dairy producers, with dairy farmers in every state in the Union. We ask that you take into account the livelihoods and families of the many dairy producers in our states during your negotiations. We will be following the U.S. â?? Australia FTA closely and want to make sure that the dairy industryâ??s concerns are given the highest attention by your administration.Sincerely,[30]