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U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is demanding the U.S. trade representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture protect Western New York’s dairy sector and yogurt producers from newly discussed barriers to trade with foreign countries.
Schumer, D-N.Y., made the remarks at O-AT-KA Milk Products Cooperative Inc., in Batavia, on Monday where a $16 million facility expansion there is dependent on its business with Canada. The addition would add up to 14 jobs and retain 300 positions.
Canada and New Zealand have threatened to slow the progress of the Upstate New York dairy industry by imposing limitations on the import of milk products and by forcing producers such as O-AT-KA to unfairly compete with a monopoly, Schumer said.
He is calling on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the USDA to work towards an agreement, during closing talks with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that would continue to grow U.S. dairy exports by ensuring Canada and other foreign countries do not impose new restrictive trade rules but honor their commitment to open their borders to New York farmers.
“Western New York’s dairy farmers continue to drive a booming industry, but unnecessary tariffs and barriers to trade with Canada and other countries threaten to curb their ability to compete and grow in the international market,” Schumer said in a statement. “The federal government must focus on every opportunity for our dairy and Greek yogurt producers to grow and compete, and given that the dairy industry is becoming more and more reliant on the growing global market, a level playing field is essential.”
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