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DAIRY PRODUCTS

NMPF, USDEC applaud Trump administration’s negotiation with South Korea
Tuesday, 03 April, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Arlington
The National Milk Producers’ Federation (NMPF) and the United States Dairy Export Council (USDEC) applauded the Donald Trump administration’s swift and effective negotiation with South Korea regarding the terms and implementation of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).

In a letter to US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, the two dairy groups expressed appreciation that the trade officials were able to secure a result with South Korea that addressed certain dairy industry concerns while preserving the overall agreement.

South Korea was the fifth-largest US dairy export market in 2017, accounting for $280 million in US dairy sales. It is also the second-largest buyer of US cheese, after Mexico.

“Preserving free trade agreements (FTAs) like this one is essential to strengthening our economy and expanding opportunities for America’s dairy producers and processors,” said Tom Vilsack, president and chief executive officer, USDEC.

With KORUS, the US dairy industry will remain a competitive dairy exporter to South Korea in a world in which most other major dairy exporters have access to the South Korean market through a trade agreement. This puts US companies, shipping products, manufacturers and American-made milk on the same footing with dairy competitors from other countries.

“KORUS has had a demonstrable impact on the success of US dairy exports,” said Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer, NMPF.

“A renegotiated KORUS will strengthen our trade relationship with Korea, ensuring that the country continues to receive nutritious US dairy foods. This will benefit both Korean citizens and the US farmers producing these products,” he added.

Leading up to the KORUS negotiations in early October 2017, USDEC and NMPF encouraged an approach that would address specific US concerns, including that of customs procedures, while preserving the agreement.

United States dairy exporters have repeatedly encountered challenges with South Korea’s overly narrow interpretation of which goods qualify as those originating from the United States.

This meant that even goods produced in the United States with American-made ingredients and certified as such by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) sometimes faced rejection.

The letter thanked USTR for recognising these types of issues and their impact on trade.

“Resolving them can ensure that the agreement operates as it was truly intended to,” the groups said.
 
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