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The U.S. dairy industry is urging Congress to quickly ratify the U.S.-Mexico- Canada Agreement (USMCA) with an outreach campaign highlighting the importance of the agreement to the success of America's dairy farmers and manufacturers.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council, the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association issued a joint letter to members of Congress detailing how provisions of USMCA positively impact the U.S. dairy industry.

The timely resolution of ongoing trade disputes and negotiations is critical to growing the dairy sector's international market share as well as maintaining credibility with U.S. trading partners. Therefore, the dairy community is asking Congress for immediate passage of this important trade agreement.

"Solidifying and expanding trade opportunities abroad through USMCA will improve the prospects of dairy farms here at home," said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. "In the midst of uncertainty surrounding our trade relationships and yet another year of meager milk prices, the United States lost an average of seven dairy farms a day in 2018. The passage of USMCA will instill a renewed sense of optimism in our dairy farmers."

With approximately 16 percent of the U.S. milk supply exported annually, strengthening trading relationships and expanding international market opportunities is vital to the financial well- being of the U.S. dairy industry. USMCA preserves U.S. dairy sales to Mexico, the U.S. dairy industry's largest foreign customer, while increasing market access in Canada and tackling nontariff barriers that can hinder exports.

"It is time for Congress to swiftly pursue a USMCA vote by working closely with the Administration to resolve outstanding concerns and then quickly ratify this agreement to bring USMCA across the finish line," said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. "The successful resolution of the Section 232 retaliatory tariffs helped pave the way for this critical trade agreement; while we work together to secure its passage Congress must also stand against the imposition of any additional tariffs that could jeopardize forward progress."

Michael Dykes, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association said, "On behalf of our dairy industry which pumps $620 billion into the U.S. economy each year, we are making a strong appeal to Congress to vote to ratify USMCA now. To pave the way for USMCA ratification, we ask the Administration to restore a market principled approach to trade - transparent, rules-based and predictable for our North American trading partners. The time has come to focus on what's important to our economy-maintaining American jobs, growing U.S. export markets, and restoring America's reputation as a reliable supplier."

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