Washington, D.C. - U.S. Reps. Michelle Fischbach (R-MN), Mike Bost (R-IL), Jim Costa (D-CA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Annie Kuster (D-NH), and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) led 56 of their colleagues in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressing their disappointment in the recent dispute settlement ruling on Canada’s dairy tariff rate quota (TRQ) allocation measures under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The ruling raises significant questions regarding fair market access for American dairy producers and processors involved in the Canadian food and agriculture sector.

“The latest USMCA panel decision is extremely disappointing and leaves America’s dairy industry at a disadvantage. But my colleagues and I will not give up. We are exploring other tools and opportunities to ensure U.S. dairy producers get fair access to Canadian export markets, and this letter encouraging the Administration to do the same is the first step of many,” said Rep. Fischbach (MN-07). “I look forward to a swift response and to working with USTR and USDA on solutions.”

“While Canada is a valued trading partner, they should not be precluded from upholding their USMCA commitments at the expense of American producers,” the members wrote. “We strongly encourage you to prioritize fair access to the Canadian marketplace for U.S. dairy products and work collectively between your departments to rectify this trade imbalance.”

The denial of fair access to Canada’s dairy TRQ allocations undermines the intended market access gains negotiated in the USMCA. As the second-largest market for U.S. dairy exports, valued at $1.03 billion in 2022, Canada is integral to the North American trading landscape and their restrictions on dairy imports directly impact American producers and processors.

The bipartisan coalition of members was supported in their efforts by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the U.S. Dairy Export Council, and the Illinois Milk Producers Association.

“The International Dairy Foods Association is deeply disappointed by the USMCA dispute panel’s failure to defend even the most basic rights outlined in the trade agreement,” said Michael Dyles, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA. “The future of U.S. dairy trade relies upon fair market access that is enabled by comprehensive, rules-based trade agreements with strong enforcement mechanisms. IDFA is grateful to the many congressional dairy champions working to improve market access with Canada, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress, the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to hold Canada accountable to its USMCA commitments.”

“On behalf of American dairy farmers and cooperatives, I want to express my gratitude for the leadership from Representatives Bost, Costa, Stefanik, Kuster, Fischbach, and DelBene in seeking solutions for dairy producers following the unfortunate USMCA dispute panel that enables Canada to continue allocating its dairy quotas in a trade-restrictive manner,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Despite the setback, the hard work that USTR and USDA have dedicated to pursuing Canadian compliance through two dispute settlement proceedings is to be commended. We look forward to working closely with Congress and the Administration in identifying a path forward for American dairy exports, not only to Canada but to markets worldwide.”