U.S. ag secretary believes Canada will live up to its dairy commitments in USMCA


United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue held a press conference at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association convention this week in San Antonio, Texas, to talk about the U.S. government’s work on trade, dairy access, and more.

As one of the biggest supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump’s agenda, Secretary Purdue boasted about the agricultural achievements of this administration, including hammering out the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“The President made a commitment to improve the deal, and that’s exactly what he did.  This validates his negotiating abilities to level the playing field,” Perdue says.

There has been some talk of concern regarding Canada living up to its commitments in the USMCA, particularly in reference to the dairy access promised in the deal. Canada has granted the U.S. access of 3.25% while also removing the Class 7 pricing system for skim proteins.

Asked if he has concerns about Canada’s follow through on the deal, Perdue says, “I really don’t. We are hopeful that they do not devise some other system, and we will be watching for that, but we believe they will comply. As farmers, we can be paranoid that people are out to get us, but it’s unfounded.”

Canada is currently working through the legislative process to approve the USMCA, which is expected to be passed through the House and Senate possibly by late March, according to John Masswohl, of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

Meanwhile, in Canada, officials of the Dairy Farmers of Canada met with Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie Claude Bibeau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Specifics of the meeting have not yet been released, though USMCA compensation for market access and the plan post Class 7 were likely on the agenda.

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