President Barack Obama has submitted to Congress three pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. The dairy industry, including DFA, has urged for the passage of these FTAs for several years. The U.S. dairy sector is expected to see significant gains from each of these agreements, particularly the FTA with South Korea.

“We are pleased that achieving these benefits is finally within sight,” said Jerry Kozak, president and chief executive officer of National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

“These agreements will not only expand export sales for such products as cheese, whey, skim milk powder and other dairy products, they will also prevent our competitors from taking market shares that we currently have in those countries.”

In a joint statement, NMPF and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) executives noted that the export benefit from the South Korea FTA to the U.S. dairy industry in the first few years after implementation will be approximately $380 million per year, on average, and the gains from the Colombia and Panama FTAs will add another $50 million annually.

NMPF and USDEC officials highlighted the growing importance of export sales to dairy producers’ bottom lines and the need to continue to open and develop new markets regardless of their size. In international trade, “unless we continue to move forward, we risk falling behind our competitors,” said Tom Suber, president of USDEC.


“We urge members of Congress to approve the implementing bills for all three FTAs, and support the economy of thousands of America’s dairy farmers,” said Kozak.

“Our producers are pleased that after four years, a breakthrough has been achieved and Congress will finally have an opportunity to act on the FTAs. Now, we just need a ‘yes’ vote.” PD

—Dairy Farmers of America's DFA Today, October 4, 2011