Farmers, Workers, Processors Fear Unfair Competition From New Zealand Dairy Industry
WASHINGTON, March 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congress should not approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal without carefully considering the impact on vulnerable U.S. dairy farms and workers. That was the message delivered today by 11 national organizations representing dairy farmers and dairy industry workers in a letter to eight key members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The TPP has the potential to become the biggest trade deal in history. As the 16 th round of talks gets underway today in Singapore, negotiators now include Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Vietnam. Other Pacific Rim nations – notably Japan, the Philippines and Thailand – are watching the talks closely, with an eye to joining the controversial trade pact.U.S. dairy interests are especially concerned that the trade deal will damage family farmers, dairy processors and consumers. The letter states the pending trade deal could have tremendous impact on where and how dairy products are produced and processed. "New market access for New Zealand's monopolistic dairy sector would be especially damaging to U.S. dairy farmers and those who produce and process nonfat dry milk, butterfat or cheese," the letter states. To make sure the U.S. dairy industry won't be decimated by the TPP, the letter urges Congress to adopt new trade policymaking procedures rather than reinstating so-called "fast-track" authority. "Congress must make sure this trade deal doesn't open the door to unfair competition," said Rome Aloise, international vice president for the Teamsters and head of the union's dairy conference, which represents 30,000 dairy workers throughout the supply chain. "The dairy industry is too important to our economy and to our food supply."