Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), testified today before the Senate Finance Committee and urged Congress to swiftly ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and usher in the benefits it promises to deliver to America’s dairy sector, as well as the wider food and agricultural community.
Vilsack, who served as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2009 to 2017, detailed how the trade pact will bring important benefits for dairy farmers and businesses.
In addition to locking in a zero-tariff relationship with Mexico and increasing market access to Canada, USMCA also reforms unfair pricing practices in Canada and addresses other nontariff barriers, like Geographic Indication requirements, that threaten U.S. sales. All told, USMCA will provide a $314 million-a-year boost to the dairy industry, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Vilsack has been a strong advocate for USMCA, having recently written an op-ed published in the Des Moines Register, in addition to his participation in events across the country in favor of the agreement.
“Speaker Pelosi and Ambassador Lighthizer are working closely together to address any outstanding concerns surrounding the implementation of USMCA,” he added. “I encourage the Senate to play a constructive role in these talks in order to produce a final agreement that can be quickly passed and signed.”
In June, USDEC and 34 of its members signed a letter alongside nearly 1,000 farm organizations and rural businesses asking Congress to approve USMCA.