The fourth round of negotiations to redo the North American Free Trade Agreement take place next week in Washington. Jim Mulhern, CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, says negotiators are planning to put forth proposals on dairy policy and other market access issues U.S. farmers have getting their product into Canada.
Milk Business Dot Com says the Milk Producers Federation is pushing very hard for improving the U.S.-Canada relationship when it comes to dairy, but at the same time is working hard to maintain the current dairy relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. Mulhern says dairy policy has typically been left out of NAFTA negotiations and the result is a relationship between the U.S. and Canada that has been more and more frustrating when it comes to dairy policy. “Canada maintains very high tariffs,” he says, “which means that you really can’t get any dairy products into the country.
What really put them over the top is the national ingredients strategy Canada implemented this past spring.” Getting rid of the Class 7 designation, which is a big part of the disagreement between the countries, won’t be enough. “This is a free trade agreement,” Mulhern added. “If you’re going to have a free trade agreement, there must be trade. We need a more normalized integrated market, like the one we have in Mexico.”