Editor’s note: Tom Vilsack testified recently before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. His testimony supported swift ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by Congress.

OPINION  Food and agricultural exports are critical to America’s rural economy. The modernized U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will achieve more-robust and fair trade among the United States, Mexico and Canada.

There are specific gains in the agreement for the U. S. dairy industry.

  • a strengthened U.S. trade relationship with Mexico, the largest U.S. dairy-export destination
  • important advances in removing and reforming key trade-distorting Canadian dairy-pricing policies – including Classes 6 and 7
  • increased dairy access to Canada, a dairy market largely excluded from the current North American Free Trade Agreement framework
  • strengthened safeguards for U.S. companies to use common food names through new commitments to intellectual-property due-process procedures; two side letters with Mexico will preserve market access for many of those products
  • strong sanitary and phytosanitary provisions focused on ensuring the best scientific standards for food safety while discouraging unscientific barriers to safe food exports

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Tom Vilsack is the president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, which fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. The council is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy-farmer checkoff. Visit www.usdec.org for more information.