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Seamless transition expected with USMCA dairy investigation

The head of the National Milk Producers Federation says a change in administration is unlikely to disrupt the U.S. Trade Representative’s investigation into Canada upholding its dairy provisions within the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement.

Jim Mulhern tells Brownfield the USMCA did make progress on some market access and subsidy policies with Canada, but early actions limiting tariff rate quotas don’t uphold the spirt of the agreement.

“We’re confident that these are the kinds of issues that do get handed off from one administration to the next and I think it will be a seamless transition,” he says.

Dairy economist Ben Laine with Rabo AgriFinance tells Brownfield the USTR’s investigation is one he is following but while having more free trade is nice, Canada doesn’t represent the growth potential for dairy exports like other regions like Southeast Asia. “Canada is good but it’s not growing, it’s not a huge game-changer in terms of volumes of milk exports,” he says.

Mulhern says recently named US Trade Rep appointee Katherine Tai has a good understanding of the needs of the dairy community and he looks forward to more robust trade agreements under the Biden Administration.

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