SCHUMER: RESTRICTIVE CANADIAN TRADE RULES COULD THREATEN UPSTATE DAIRY INDUSTRY, INCLUDING PRODUCERS LIKE IDEAL DAIRY FARM IN HUDSON FALLS AND MANY WASHINGTON COUNTY DAIRY FARMERS; SENATOR DEMANDS FEDS ENSURE CANADA PLAYS BY THE RULES
Schumer Pushes USTR & USDA To Ensure Canada Keeps its Dairy Trade Open & Accessible For US Dairy Producers, Like Ideal Dairy Farm in Hudson Falls
Schumer to Feds: Protect Upstate Dairy Producers From Unfair Trade Barriers
Standing at Ideal Dairy Farm in Hudson Falls, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today visited Washington County and demanded that the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) protect Washington County and Upstate New York’s dairy sector from newly proposed barriers to trade with Canada. Canada has threatened to inflict damage to Upstate New York’s dairy industry by imposing limitations on the import of milk products that can be sent to Canada from U.S. producers. Schumer highlighted that dairy farmers in Washington County and throughout Upstate New York are becoming more and more reliant on the growing global market for the goods they produce. Therefore, Schumer called on the USTR and the USDA to stop Canada from walking back on previous commitments and imposing market-access restrictions on dairy products that the U.S. is already exporting to Canada.
“Upstate New York and Washington County dairy producers could be put in grave jeopardy if these restrictive, Canadian trade barriers are allowed to go into effect. This kind of restriction could flood the U.S. market with milk if U.S. producers cannot ship their products there – and this would not only negatively impact our companies that export, but also devastate our producers who sell domestically like Ideal Dairy right here in Washington County,” said Schumer. “That’s why I am urging the USTR and USDA to work to ensure that Canada is honoring its commitments to the U.S. and not moving forward with restrictive barriers that would threaten the ability of American companies to continue exporting dairy products.”
Ideal Dairy Farm is owned and operated by Washington County resident John Dickenson and his family. Their family farm is a part of the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Cooperative. Through the DFA Cooperative, Ideal Dairy contributes its milk – along with a cooperative pool of 1,577 dairies in the Northeast – to be pasteurized, bottled, marketed and distributed to consumers. Some familiar brands that the DFA Cooperative supplies are Kraft, Chobani, Hershey, Sorrento and Hood. Ideal Dairy along ships approximately 98,000 pounds of milk (11,750 gallons).
Schumer said it is clear Ideal Dairy is working hard to invest in its farm, milk and the regional economy, as it employs 30 local residents full-time. However, Schumer said recently proposed Canadian trade barriers could harm U.S. dairy producers like Ideal Dairy. Schumer explained that, right now, the Canadian government is considering taking administrative actions that would limit the ability of domestic Canadian companies to use ultra-filtered milk – produced by companies like Ideal Diary and others in the DFA Cooperative – for cheese making. In addition, Schumer said Ontario implemented a new, targeted pricing policy that is designed to crowd out New York’s dairy sales.
To date, dairy companies in the U.S. have enjoyed duty-free access for this specific product, an agreement Canada complied with under the North American Free Trade Agreement. As a result, Schumer said the federal government must prioritize protecting the existing U.S. dairy trade with Canada and companies like Ideal Dairy. Schumer explained that, while Ideal Dairy does not export directly to Canada, many other dairy farms and plants – even within the DFA Cooperative – do sell their products to Canada. Therefore, if this restrictive trade rule is allowed to limit the ability of larger farms to export their products to Canada, then those companies will instead be forced to sell their products within the U.S. Schumer said this could indirectly inflict severe damage on smaller farms like Ideal Dairy, as these other companies would flood the U.S. market with their milk products, and potentially negatively impacting Ideal Dairy’s ability to sell the same amount of milk through the Cooperative to its U.S. customers.
As a result, Schumer said any serious trade barrier could cost Ideal Dairy Farm and many other Upstate NY dairy farmers millions of dollars in sales. Schumer said the success of dairy farms like Ideal Dairy hinges significantly on the ability of the larger U.S. dairy industry and its producers to market their products in the global market, like Canada. To add insult to injury, Schumer said, New York has made sizable investments in exporting to Canada under specific rules laid out by the Canadian government. Therefore, Canadian market access barriers would have a large impact on New York’s dairy sector. 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.
For this reason, Schumer said it is unacceptable that Canada would seek to change rules in order to purposefully harm the U.S. and Upstate NY dairy industries. Milk product sales now help support dairy farmers and rural communities across the state. Moreover, Schumer said this latest example of dairy market-access restriction appears to represent a Canadian policy shift aimed directly at impeding dairy trade. Schumer said it is concerning that Canada is weighing a regulatory change that would undermine one of New York’s most important export markets and hurt companies like Ideal Dairy and even Canadian cheese makers. Therefore, during his visit to Washington County today, Schumer urged both the USDA and USTR to hold Canada to previous dairy trade commitments and to preserve an important export market for Central New York Farmers.
Schumer was joined by John Dickenson, owner of Ideal Dairy Farm; Jay Skellie, President of the Washington County Farm Bureau and Supervisor of the Town of Jackson; as well as members of the Washington County Farm Bureau.
A copy of Schumer’s letter to both the USTR and USDA appears below:
Dear Ambassador Froman and Secretary Vilsack:
I write to you with strong concerns about reports that Canada is weighing policy and regulatory shifts that would undermine one of New York’s most important export markets. Just a few years ago, two dairy companies made investments worth tens of millions of dollars in Upstate New York to produce ultra-filtered milk specifically for export to the Canadian cheese market. These sales are possible as a result of the duty-free access for this specific product that Canada agreed to under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Recent reports indicate that Canada is considering administrative actions to limit Canadian companies’ capacity to use this product in further processing and that Ontario is advancing a new, targeted pricing policy designed to crowd out New York’s dairy sales. Further restraints on dairy trade are unacceptable, particularly coming on the heels of Canada’s recent pledge to expand access to its tightly restricted dairy market under TPP.
New York has made sizable investments in exporting into Canada under specific rules laid out by the Canadian government. Those sales now help support dairy farmers and rural communities across the state. New Canadian barriers to market access would have an outsized impact on New York’s dairy sector. As the country’s third largest milk producing state, a significant impact on New York’s ability to tap into key foreign markets also will impact farmers in surrounding states in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Moreover, this latest example of dairy market-access restrictions appears to represent a continuation of persistent Canadian regulatory and policy shifts aimed directly at impeding dairy trade.
We must hold Canada to its commitments and ensure that our exporters do not encounter barriers to the products they are already shipping to Canada. I urge you to strongly reject this and similar efforts to impair the value of concessions the U.S. previously secured under NAFTA. Thank you for your attention to this important priority with one of this country’s largest trading partners.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
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