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The USMCA Agreement and Its Impact on the Dairy Industry

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a comprehensive trade agreement that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The agreement was signed on November 30, 2018 and went into effect on July 1, 2020.

One of the most significant changes in the USMCA is its impact on the dairy industry. Under NAFTA, Canada maintained a supply management system that protected its domestic dairy industry from foreign competition. The USMCA, however, opens up the Canadian dairy market to U.S. producers, meaning that U.S. dairy products will have greater access to the Canadian market.

While some dairy farmers in Canada are concerned about the impact of increased competition, the agreement also provides benefits for U.S. dairy producers. The USMCA includes provisions that aim to increase market access for U.S. dairy products in Mexico, which is the United States’ largest dairy export market. The agreement also includes measures to protect common cheese names, such as feta and parmesan, from being used for products that do not meet certain standards.

Additionally, the USMCA includes new rules for dairy product labeling. Under the agreement, products labeled as “milk” or “cheese” must come from animals, meaning that plant-based alternatives will no longer be able to use these terms. This change was a victory for U.S. dairy producers, who have been advocating for stricter labeling standards for plant-based products.

Overall, the USMCA has the potential to benefit the U.S. dairy industry by increasing market access and protecting common cheese names. However, it remains to be seen how the agreement will impact the Canadian dairy industry and how U.S. dairy producers will take advantage of the new market opportunities.