Ernst, bipartisan colleagues seek compliance with USMCA dairy provisions

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined a bipartisan group of two dozen lawmakers in calling on the Trump administration to ensure America’s trading partners abide by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Specifically, Sen. Ernst and her colleagues asked U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to enforce USMCA’s dairy provisions by holding Canada and Mexico accountable for their trade obligations to U.S. dairy farmers.

Among the members who joined Sen. Ernst in signing the Aug. 25 letter were U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

“Fair market access for American dairy farmers was a key pillar of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) agriculture section,” the senators wrote. “USMCA is poised to create new export opportunities for America’s dairy industry and a more equitable playing field for American dairy exports in Mexico and Canada, but effective implementation will be critical to realizing these gains.”

Sen. Ernst and her colleagues outlined the dairy provisions, including those for Canadian dairy commitment compliance and Mexico common names commitment compliance.

“Given the importance of these provisions to our dairy farmers and to American dairy exports, we ask that you use USMCA’s enforcement measures, as appropriate, to hold our trading partners accountable to their trade commitments,” they wrote. “It is imperative that Canada and Mexico deliver upon their agreed-upon commitments related to dairy products.”

Earlier this month, members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a similar letter expressing the same concerns.