Lawmakers say Canada risks ouster from TPP unless it opens access to dairy market

By Daniel Enoch

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WASHINGTON, July 16, 2015 - A bipartisan group of 21 House members is warning Canada that it may not be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if it continues to resist increasing access to its dairy market.

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The warning was contained in a letter to Gary Doer, Canada's ambassador to the U.S., and signed by House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, among others. It was sent as trade officials from the U.S., Canada and 10 other Pacific Rim countries head for Hawaii later this month in what could be the final round of negotiations on the proposed free trade agreement. (Click here to see a full text of the letter plus the signatories.)

“It is our understanding that Canada has long been unwilling to seriously engage in market access discussions regarding dairy, despite its commitment upon joining TPP to adhere to its high standards,” the lawmakers wrote. “As TPP talks draw towards a close, it is vital to not lose sight of this core goal. It is critical that Canada finally commit to finishing the work left undone in our prior agreements and finally commit to significant and commercially meaningful market access for all remaining agricultural products.”

“The final dairy market access package with Canada will have a significant impact on how Congress views the final agreement,” the letter concludes. “It will be difficult for us to support Canada's inclusion in TPP if significant new dairy access is not part of the deal.”

The chief negotiators for the TPP counties are due to meet on the island of Maui from July 24-27, followed by a meeting of trade ministers from July 28-31.

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