Senator Says Canada’s Unfair Treatment of U.S. Dairy Exports Violates Provisions of New U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/09/20]— U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said today that she was pleased U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer has taken the first step in challenging unfair Canadian trade practices that are harming dairy producers in Minnesota and across the country.  In August, Sen. Smith led a bipartisan group of 25 Senators in pressing Ambassador Lighthizer and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to take action to ensure Canada abides by the dairy provisions of the USMCA. 

Sen. Smith helped secure stronger dairy trade provisions in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement (USMCA).   The agreement took effect in July, and Lighthizer’s action was needed because of the trade barriers Canada has put up to block U.S. dairy exports to that country in violation of the agreement. 

I fought hard for provision in the USMCA to open up markets for our dairy producers and crack down on Canada’s unfair treatment of U.S. dairy exports,” said Senator Smith, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  “Unfortunately, Canada has failed to meet their obligations under the agreement, and I’m pleased that Ambassador Lighthizer has heeded my call to challenge Canada’s actions.  In this difficult time for American agriculture, it’s a much-needed and welcome effort that will help dairy producers in Minnesota and across the country.”

This week, Ambassador Lighthizer signaled that he will begin dispute settlement proceedings aimed at removing Canadian dairy import barriers.  It  would be the first enforcement action under the new USMCA.