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Rep. Kind Applauds Ambassador Lighthizer’s Decision to Take Canada to Consultations via the Dispute Settlement Process for the First-Time Over Failure to Open their Dairy Market as Agreed in USMCA

December 9, 2020
Press Release
Rep. Kind led a bipartisan letter urging the Administration to act and hold Canada accountable to their trade commitments by implementing enforcement provisions in August

Washington, DC – Today, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that the United States will be using the Dispute Settlement Process against Canada for the first time for failing to comply with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) implementation requirements. This comes after Rep. Ron Kind lead a bipartisan group of his colleagues in calling for it to be done. Canadian dairy policy has long unfairly excluded Wisconsin dairy products from competing fairly in Canada.

In August, Rep. Kind led a bipartisan letter to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging them to take the action they are doing today. In order to create an even playing field for dairy farmers and keep jobs in the United States, it’s crucial that the Administration holds Canada and Mexico accountable to their trade commitments by implementing enforcement provisions. The Administration is finally using the USMCA’s consultation and enforcement measures necessary to ensure our trading partners deliver on their obligations in a way that’s fully consistent with the spirit and letter of the agreement.  The Dispute Settlement process under USMCA is a binding mechanism that countries can bring complaints against each other for not living up to the commitments made in the agreement. If the claims are proven true by an adjudicating panel, the US will have the right to retaliate against Canada.

“I applaud the Administration’s decision to hold Canada accountable and ensure they uphold their end of the deal. I’ve always said trade agreements are not worth the paper they are written on without strong enforcement, and I am glad today those new procedures will help ensure Wisconsin farmers, workers, and families can reap the full benefits of this agreement,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Today is a good day for Wisconsin’s dairy farmers—we are that much closer to getting them the level playing field they need.”

“Congressman Ron Kind has been an incredible champion for America’s dairy farmers and farmer-owned cooperatives, and has worked hard to hold Canada accountable to its trade commitments under USMCA. His continued leadership has helped coalesce a broad base of bipartisan support for action on this topic and drive this issue to the top of USTR’s agenda. After a difficult year, today’s announcement is a high note for America’s dairy industry and brings us one step closer towards fully realizing USMCA’s promised benefits for dairy exports,” said Jim Mulhern, President & CEO, National Milk Producers Federation.

Rep. Kind spent years working to ensure the USMCA is fully enforceable to guarantee increased access to the Canadian dairy market – specifically changes to TRQ’s to directly increase the volume of American imports; codify science-based Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) standards; provide a faster and more enforceable dispute settlement process; and increase labor and environmental standards. Rep. Kind also released a Family Farm Rescue Plan earlier this year, which called for swift implementation of USMCA.

Rep. Kind serves on the Subcommittee on Trade for the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful - and the oldest - committee in the House of Representatives. It has jurisdiction over tax measures, the management of public debt, trade and tariff laws, Social Security, Medicare, pensions, and many other economic growth measures.