The National Milk Producers Federation's Board of Directors last week approved a resolution in opposition to any Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that does not provide for significantly increased access to the Canadian dairy market.
Jim Mulhern, NMPF CEO, said the decision was made because the agreement presents a "critical opportunity" to liberalize dairy trade.
Even though Canada is the second-largest export market for U.S. dairy products, mostly imported under a re-export program, the potential for additional Canadian sales is far greater than what is currently allowed under Canada's tariff system – an arrangement the group calls "restrictive."
NMPF said overall it supports the TPP negotiations, and hopes that the final agreement will result in one that provides net benefits to U.S. dairy producers.
"Opening the Canadian dairy market is a linchpin to achieving that result," Mulhern said.
Canada joined the talks in June, 2012.
According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the 17th round of TPP negotiations wrapped up last month, while the 18th round of TPP negotiations will be held in Malaysia from July 15th-25th.
Negotiations are expected to be complete by the end of the year.