United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., and Rep. Rick Larsen, R-Wash., participated in a roundtable Thursday with agriculture stakeholders, tribal leaders and farmers following a tour of the Washington State University Breadlab. At the event, Washington farmers and food producers from various sectors, including dairy, raised the importance of implementing a trade policy that expands agricultural exports.
During the roundtable, Tai discussed how trade can help Washington’s agricultural industries and its producers. The ambassador highlighted the importance of creating more inclusive trade policies that can deliver shared prosperity and growth to the agricultural sector, according to a readout from USTR.
Tai shared over the last several months, she’s met with a range of agriculture stakeholders – from small, family-owned producers to leaders at the American Farm Bureau Federation – to better understand their perspective and make sure our trade policy lifts up the sector.
“Our top priority is making sure you can bring your products to new markets and new customers and holding our trading partners accountable for their commitments,” she told those who were present for the roundtable.
Tai outlined actions taken in the last three months by the administration including requesting a dispute settlement panel to review whether Canada’s policies were preventing American dairy producers from getting their products to Canadian customers.
In June, USTR reached agreements with the EU and UK on the Boeing/Airbus dispute that included a long-term suspension of tariffs. Last month, she also visited Mexico City and emphasized the importance of Mexico taking the final steps to expand access for fresh U.S. potatoes throughout Mexico.
“Taken together, our early actions demonstrate how this administration intends to be a strong advocate for our agriculture industry and its producers,” she says.
Washington dairy farmers Jeremy Visser and Mike Schoneveld, member-owners of the U.S. Dairy Export Council and National Milk Producers Federation-member Northwest Dairy Association/Darigold, conveyed the importance of exports and global market access for the dairy industry. Visser and Schoneveld praised DelBene for her leadership on dairy trade issues to help expand opportunities for dairy in international markets.
Dairy farmers are grateful to Ambassador Tai for launching the dispute settlement case against Canada’s restrictive access to U.S. dairy and appreciate Rep. DelBene’s advocacy on this matter as well. At the same time, dairy farmers are also keen to see a proactive trade agenda of opening new markets around the world,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.
“As solid as our track record has been to date, America’s dairy industry has not reached its full trade potential on the global stage. Each dairy product that we export – whether it’s cheese, milk powder, or another essential dairy ingredient – has a powerful impact across the entire supply chain. Expanding while also defending market share abroad is critical to U.S. dairy manufacturers and exporters, especially cheese exporters that are encountering barriers disguised by the European Union’s Geographical Indications agenda,” says Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “We thank Rep. DelBene for hosting Ambassador Tai to hear from Washington’s agricultural sector directly on how to support that work through new trade agreements, enforcing trade agreements, and resolving trade barriers in other countries.”