WASHINGTON, March 2, 2015 -- The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today jointly urged Congress to enact new Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation, saying it is crucial to securing well-negotiated trade agreements, including a Pacific Rim pact that would open key markets to more U.S. dairy products.

In a letter to Congress, NMPF and USDEC said renewing TPA, which expired in 2007, will increase congressional influence over trade negotiations and lead to agreements that are better for both the country and the dairy industry.

“By having a clear framework for participating in the process and identified priorities that a successful agreement must address, Congress increases its influence over these agreements as they are being written,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.

“TPA plays a key role in supporting a strong trade policy agenda,” said USDEC President Tom Suber. “That is particularly important to the dairy industry, since it now exports the equivalent of one-seventh of its U.S. milk production.”

Suber said that in 2014 the U.S. industry exported more than $7 billion in dairy products.

The dairy groups urged Congress to approve TPA, but also to become engaged in the final stages of negotiations with 11 other countries over the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“To achieve an agreement with net benefits to the U.S. dairy industry, access to the region’s most protected dairy markets – Japan and Canada – is imperative,” Mulhern saud. “While some progress has been made in Japan, both of these countries need to open their markets to a full range of U.S. dairy products.”

Suber said another key issue is improving safeguards for using generic food names, including many common cheese names, in export markets. The European Union, he noted, is attempting to erect trade barriers by limiting the use of names like feta, parmesan and asiago and many others to particular geographic areas.

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About the National Milk Producers Federation: The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, Va., develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of U.S. dairy producers and the cooperatives they collectively own. The members of NMPF's cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S, milk supply, making NMPF the voice of nearly 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies.

About the U.S. Dairy Export Council: The U.S. Dairy Export Council is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Its mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products.


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