A total of 50 members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this week, urging him to work swiftly on a Phase Two Agreement with Japan.
The letter was also sent to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. They say the recent Phase One agreement with Japan made progress on several important issues, but American farmers and processors remain at a disadvantage against competitors, thanks to the Japan-European Union and the Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership agreements.
That’s why Wisconsin Representative Ron Kind and his colleagues are asking Lighthizer and Perdue to maximize opportunities for dairy farmers by addressing these remaining gaps and inequalities in market access during the next round of negotiations. Due to depressed milk prices and a suffering rural economy, dairy farmers are facing tough conditions and struggling to stay afloat.
The USDA says 6,000 dairy farms have gone out of business over the last several years, underscoring the need for trade agreements that can expand overseas markets for the U.S. dairy industry. The letter also points out that Japan is one of the top five overseas markets for U.S. dairy products and the demand will only continue to grow.