Letter to Ambassador of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Secretary of U.S. Department of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack - Roadblocks for Dairy Sector

Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Tom Reed (R-NY) are urging federal officials to take proactive steps to prevent Canada from imposing new barriers to U.S. dairy exports. Wisconsin and New York are well positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the Canadian market, but only if Canada does not move to block U.S. dairy imports.

"Dairy exports are critical to Wisconsin's economy, and Canada has long been a valued trading partner for both Wisconsin and the United States," said Kind. "We need to act now to avoid damaging new trade policies that could harm our dairy farmers and weaken the flow of commerce between our two countries."

Congressmen Kind and Reed, along with members of the Wisconsin delegation including Reps. Sean Duffy, Gwen Moore, Tom Petri, Mark Pocan, Reid Ribble and Jim Sensenbrenner as well as members of the New York delegation sent a letter outlining concerns over the inaccessibility of the Canadian dairy market to U.S. dairy products to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Of particular concern is a possible change to Canadian cheese standards that would further restrict trade, in addition to a 2007 revision of the Cheese Compositional Standards (CCS) by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that reduced opportunities for dairy sales from the U.S. to Canada.

Wisconsin and New York are home to approximately 17,000 dairy producers who rely on export opportunities to help sustain their farms. In addition, both states have robust dairy manufacturing sectors, such as yogurt and cheese, that help provide stable jobs in rural areas.

The full text of the letter is available in the pdf below:

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