Gillibrand says unfair trade policies from Canada hurt U.S. dairies

Posted 5 September 2018 at 2:50 pm

Press Release, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

WASHINGTON, DC – As NAFTA renegotiations resume with Canada this week, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, on Tuesday urged the Trump Administration to reject any trade agreement unless it protects New York dairy farmers.

Unfair Canadian trade policies limit American dairy producers’ access to the Canadian market, and Gillibrand called on the Administration to end these practices in any new trade negotiation. In addition, with the Administration’s trade war and historically low dairy prices continuing to harm dairy farmers, Gillibrand also called on the Trump Administration to immediately distribute authorized emergency relief payments to help support dairy producers.

“New York’s dairy farmers are struggling right now,” said Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Milk prices are too low, our dairy insurance programs aren’t working, and the trade wars that President Trump started are hurting our dairy industry. As the Trump Administration renegotiates NAFTA, I am calling on the Trump Administration to guarantee that any final deal with Canada protects our dairy farmers. In addition, I am calling on the Secretary of Agriculture to immediately release the emergency relief payments that have been authorized for dairy farmers to help them bear the burden of the Trump Administration’s trade war. I will always fight for New York’s dairy industry in the Senate, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that any new trade deals protect our dairy farmers.”

Gillibrand wrote to the United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to ensure that any new trade agreement creates opportunities for dairy farmers. Under NAFTA, American dairy producers have not benefited from fair trade or unrestricted access to the Canadian market for their products. Instead, Canadian dairy subsidies and discriminatory trade quotas restrict New York dairy producers from selling their products to the nearest trade market. Gillibrand called for any final agreement with Canada to prioritize the well-being of dairy farmers, end discriminatory practices, and establish fair trade opportunities.

Gillibrand also called on the Trump Administration to immediately distribute emergency relief funding for dairy farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced $12 billion in assistance to farmers across America. Dairy is supposed to receive an estimated $127 million, but there has been no clear explanation for how or when these payments will be issued. As historically low dairy prices and the Administration’s trade war continue to force dairy farmers to shoulder increasing amounts of debt to continue operating their farms, Gillibrand called on the USDA to issue these payments immediately to help keep farmers out of bankruptcy.

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