SCHUMER CALLS USDA SECRETARY VILSACK TO URGE MORE AGGRESSIVE ACTION AGAINST PROTECTIONIST AND RESTRICTIVE CANADIAN DAIRY PRICING AND TRADE POLICIES THAT THREATEN NY DAIRY PRODUCERS; SCHUMER CALLS FIX A MAJOR PRIORITY
Harmful New Regulations In Canada Unfairly Penalize Canadian Dairy Processors For Using Imported American Milk – Many Farmers Throughout NY Depend On Dairy Exports, But New Canadian Limitations on Milk Imports Could Put Farmers, Coops and Companies at Risk
Schumer Goes Straight To The Top – Calls Vilsack Directly, Along With U.S. Ambassador To Canada Bruce Heyman, Urges Them To Protect Upstate NY Dairy Farmers By Taking More Aggressive Action Against Canada
Schumer to Secretary Vilsack & Ambassador Heyman: We Must Send A Strong Message To Canada That Punitive and Anti-Fair Trade Dairy Policies Are Not Acceptable
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack directly to urge him to take more aggressive action against Canada’s protectionist and restrictive trade policies that are currently threatening the Upstate NY milk industry. Schumer explained that Canada recently announced it will impose new limitations on the importation of milk products that can be sent to Canada, from producers like O-AT-KA Milk in Genesee County, Cayuga Milk Ingredients in Cayuga County and Ideal Dairy Farm in Washington County. Schumer said this is an affront to current U.S.-Canadian trade agreements, and therefore urged the USDA and the Ambassador to keep the pressure up on Canada to end these unfair policies.
Schumer also placed a call directly to the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman, and urged him to protect the Upstate NY dairy industry as well. Schumer said these disastrous trade policies cannot be allowed to continually impair the value of fair trade provisions the U.S. previously secured under our prior trade agreements.
“Canada’s new restrictive dairy trade and pricing polices fly directly in the face of fair trade agreements signed by the U.S. and Canada. That’s why I went straight to the top and called both Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and Ambassador Heyman directly – and I urged them to take more aggressive action against Canada. These kinds of policies are putting New York’s dairy farmers in grave jeopardy – so we must send a strong message to Canada that punitive and anti-fair trade dairy policies are not acceptable,” said Senator Schumer. “Our NY dairy producers work hard every day to provide for their families and export quality products to the world – and they deserve to know that everyone’s competing on a level playing field.”
Schumer has long fought to protect the Upstate NY dairy industry and milk producers across the state. In March, Schumer visited O-AT-KA Milk, Cayuga Milk Ingredients and Ideal Farm as he urged the USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Michael Froman, to protect Upstate New York’s dairy sector from the then-proposed barriers to trade. Earlier this month, Schumer again urged these two federal agencies to ramp up all available resources to investigate new Canadian dairy trade policies that could hurt dairy farmers in Upstate NY. The Canadian province of Ontario has already imposed limitations on American imports and recently Canada’s national government put out a proposal to expand these restrictions nationwide.
Schumer said Ontario recently implemented a targeted pricing policy, which is designed to crowd out New York’s dairy sales and discourage Canadian cheesemakers from using imported ultra-filtered milk from the U.S. in their products. This new pricing policy essentially sets the price of Canada’s products below that of New York’s ultra-filtered milk imports, which artificially eliminates the price advantage of the O-AT-KA and Cayuga’s more efficiently produced ultra-filtered milk. Schumer explained that Canada recently proposed a National Ingredients Strategy for dairy, which reportedly takes a similar approach to Ontario’s new Class VI pricing policy by incentivizing Canadian processors to shift away from using dairy imports from the U.S. Upstate New York producers have invested millions in order to be able to export to Canada because they have long enjoyed duty-free access for this specific product under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Schumer said these Canadian trade barriers have already started to hinder all of the development and growth of the Upstate NY dairy industry. Companies like O-AT-KA and Cayuga Milk Ingredients, along with Ideal Dairy Farm, rely on trade with Canada for a significant percentage – millions of dollars – of their revenue. As the country’s third largest milk producing state, a significant impact on New York’s ability to tap into key foreign markets could also impact farmers in surrounding states in the northeast and the entire Mid-Atlantic region. Therefore, Schumer said, any reductions in export sales could impact NY dairy manufacturers and their supplying farms, which are already struggling with depressed milk prices.
Schumer said it is unacceptable that Canada would change rules in order to purposefully harm the U.S. and Upstate NY dairy industries. Schumer said the federal government must prioritize protecting the existing U.S. dairy trade with Canada. Schumer said Canada cannot be allowed to continually impair the value of concessions the U.S. previously secured under our prior trade agreements.