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DAIRY PRODUCTS

US dairy sector lauds USTR for ending India’s preferential trade status
Friday, 08 March, 2019, 13 : 00 PM [IST]
Arlington
The United States dairy industry commended the administration’s decision to terminate the preferential trade status granted to India for its failure to provide equitable and reasonable access to its market and comply with other provisions of the statute, as required. By holding India accountable for its unjustified trade barriers, the industry stated that USTR (United States Trade Representative) is setting an important precedent on enforcement.

India has denied market access to US dairy products since 2003, despite receiving preferential access to the US market under a special duty-free trade arrangement called the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). Over those years, India has cited a variety of shifting reasons as the basis for its illicit trade barriers, including unscientific restrictions on US livestock feeding practices.

“For 16 years, India has enjoyed unilateral access to US markets while flaunting their obligation to provide fair market access mandated under the GSP programme, and harming American dairy farmers in the process,” said Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer, National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). The administration has sent a clear message - abide by free and fair trade practices or face the consequences.

“The US dairy industry strongly welcomes this enforcement action by USTR, and hopes that it sets the precedent that unfair trade practices will not be tolerated, and compliance enforcement measures will be utilised when warranted,” said Tom Vilsack, chairman and chief executive officer, US Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

The US dairy industry has worked alongside the US government for years with the goal of coming to a mutually-beneficial resolution with the Indian government. However, India has failed to engage in good-faith negotiations to restore market access for US dairy exports.

USDEC and NMPF submitted comments to the USTR in September 2017 urging USTR to utilise congressional-mandated compliance requirements to modify India’s GSP status.
 
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