Last week, Congressman Bill Owens and Congressman Reid Ribble of Wisconsin led a bi-partisan group of colleagues in writing to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk calling for Canadian tariffs against U.S. dairy and poultry products to be eliminated as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, a proposed trade deal.
"The TPP presents a tremendous opportunity for farmers in New York to make their products available in new or expanded markets," said Owens. "As we look for ways to increase U.S. exports, we must ensure local farmers and businesses are given full and fair consideration throughout the process."
Virtually all U.S. dairy and poultry products were excluded from the U.S.-Canada portion of NAFTA. Despite Canada's restrictions on imported dairy products, it remains the United States' second largest export market, totaling $443 million in 2011. The letter also urges the Administration to reach an agreement that strengthens and reinforces the World Trade Organization's sanitary and phytosanitary measures by including safety measures based on sound, objective science. Agricultural producers, processors and exporters have for years complained about non-tariff restrictions from other countries that are not science-based.
Earlier this year, Congressman Owens applauded Canada's invitation to join the TPP negotiations. Last year alone, Canada imported more than $280.9 billion in U.S. goods and $56 billion in U.S. services, making it the United States' largest export market.