Collins pushes for elimination of Canada's dairy tariffs and supports draft farm bill
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today signed a letter that will be sent next week to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging him to put an end to Canada’s Class 7 pricing program and dairy tariff walls during ongoing NAFTA negotiations. Canada’s pricing program has created an unfair playing field and has essentially eliminated U.S. exports of certain dairy products.
Collins also voiced support for provisions in the draft of the 2018 Farm Bill released on Thursday, which makes the voluntarily Margin Protection Program (MPP) more effective and more affordable. This program was passed into law in the 2014 Farm Bill and has provided milk producers and processors with critical protections as milk and feed prices fluctuate.
“It is an unfortunate reality that our dairy industry has taken a hard hit in recent years due to unfair trade practices with Canada,” Collins said. “Dairy has always been a vital industry in Western New York and I’ve been a staunch supporter of programs that will help our nation’s farmers get by during tough times. We must continue to make reforms that benefit the agriculture industry, in turn, strengthening and growing our nation’s economy.”
In the letter to Lighthizer, Collins stresses the urgency of tackling issues with Canada’s unfair trade practices. While the Trump Administration has condemned Canada’s actions on dairy trade over the past year, Collins emphasized the millions of workers with jobs tied to agriculture and the importance of the dairy industry in Western New York.
The proposed changes to the MPP include higher coverage levels, lower premiums, and providing more flexibility to farmers when it comes to the length of their coverage. Additionally, the draft proposes changing the name of the program to Dairy Risk Management Program (DRMP) for Dairy Producers and authorizes it through 2023.
Collins added: “Holding Canada accountable and demanding fair treatment needs to be top of mind as NAFTA negotiations continue. And as we work in Congress to pass a Farm Bill, we will make sure dairy farmers have the protections they need as we continue to survive in this unfair market.”