USTR raises dairy issue with Canada, but apparently without progress |

USTR raises dairy issue with Canada, but apparently without progress

U.S. officials raised concerns with Canada’s dairy program during the first meeting of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Commission on Tuesday, but there were no signs of progress on the issue of interest to the U.S. dairy industry.

During a call to reporters late Tuesday evening, a senior administration official said, “The dairy issue is one of our priority issues with Canada.” The senior official said that U.S. officials “made our concerns known to them” and “are looking forward to keeping in touch with them on those issues.”

The U.S. dairy industry has said that if the meeting did not result in an immediate resolution to U.S. objections to the Canadian dairy tariff-rate quota, Trade Representative Katherine Tai should initiate a dispute settlement case with the Canadian government.

The senior official also said there was no change in the conflict over softwood lumber.

In the joint statement issued by Tai, Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade Mary Ng and Mexican Secretary for Economy Tatiana Clouthier, there was no mention of agriculture.

The three trade officials said they recommitted themselves “to fully implementing, enforcing, and fulfilling the agreement’s terms and high standards throughout the life of the USMCA.”

The officials also noted that the Committee on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises will convene the first USMCA SME Dialogue on October 13-14 in San Antonio, Texas, “where our governments will engage directly with a diverse group of small business stakeholders, including those owned by women, Indigenous peoples, and other underrepresented groups, to help ensure that everyone is included in, and can benefit from, the agreement.”

USTR also released a speech Tai gave early Tuesday at the beginning of the meeting. In that speech, Tai said the United States would have a “worker-centric trade policy,” but added, “I pledge my commitment to ensuring that workers and environmentalists enjoy their own pride of place, so that we can continue to address the race-to-the-bottom that has characterized the trading system over the past several decades.”

–The Hagstrom Report

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