Idaho's dairy industry - the third-largest in the U.S. - hopes international trade talks in the 11-country Trans Pacific Partnership will open Canada and New Zealand to Idaho products.
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is working with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to press negotiators to "be fair to U.S. dairy farmers and producers."
Both nations have tightly controlled dairy markets, the Idaho Dairymen's Association says.
"For example, more than 90 percent of New Zealand's milk supply and exports are controlled by just one company," the association says.
In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Crapo and Schumer wrote, "Dairy producers and processors in our states are deeply concerned that this market concentration policy provides New Zealand, the world's largest dairy exporter, with a tremendous advantage in global markets and are insistent on seeing it effectively addressed as a necessary precursor to any expansion of U.S.-New Zealand dairy trade."
Canada, a "natural potential customer for Idaho dairy," maintains longstanding quotas on domestic production, stiff import tariffs and restricted use of imported dairy ingredients, the association says.
"To be truly effective, dairy discussions with Canada should include a focus not only on removing tariffs but also on ensuring that various forms of nontariff barriers are not employed to hinder U.S. dairy exports," Crapo and Schumer wrote.