Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is urging U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer to raise concerns about Canada evading dairy trade commitments.
Schumer explained that under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Canada agreed to eliminate protective pricing within six months.
However, the senator said, Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), which represents approximately 4,000 Canadian dairy farmers, has recently requested that Ontario’s tribunal grant restricted access to DFO’s pricing regulations.
Schumer says that with only a few days left until the USMCA is set to enter into force (Wednesday), the lack of transparency and timing of DFO’s request raises questions about whether or not Canada is seeking to circumvent its dairy commitments in USMCA.
Additionally, Schumer points out, under USMCA, Canada agreed to an expansion of tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for several categories of U.S. dairy products. However, the U.S. dairy industry has raised concerns that Canada’s recently-released TRQ allocations weaken the intent of USMCA and will prevent New York dairy farmers from fully benefiting from the agreement’s expanded market access opportunities.
“New York’s dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the Upstate economy, but unfortunately, they have been squeezed by the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis,” Schumer said. “That is why I am calling on Ambassador Lighthizer to do everything in his power to ensure that Canada abides by its dairy trade obligations and eliminates its unfair and harmful pricing programs and practices that unfairly impeded Upstate New York dairy farmers from freely selling their product — as agreed to in the new trade agreement with Canada, the USMCA.”
He said it is “imperative” that New York dairy farmers are able to sell their products into Canada “and churn up profits that mitigate the huge losses they have suffered this year.”
SCHUMER ALSO expressed concerns that China is catching up to the U.S. in microelectronics production capacity, unveiling Sunday the American Foundries Act, a bipartisan initiative that seeks to reestablish U.S. leadership and revitalize innovation in the global microelectronics sector.
Schumer said that the legislation would make critical investments in domestic commercial and defense-related microelectronics manufacturing and research and development, and address economic and national security concerns by decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign-made semiconductor chips.
“The economic and national security risks posed by relying too heavily on foreign semiconductor suppliers cannot be ignored, and Upstate New York, which has a robust semiconductor sector, is the perfect place to grow this industry by leaps and bounds,” Schumer said. “America must continue to invest in our domestic semiconductor industry, including companies like GlobalFoundries, ON Semiconductor, IBM and Cree right here in New York, in order to keep good-paying, high-tech American manufacturing jobs here at home.”
He added the U.S. must ensure its domestic microelectronics industry can safely and securely supply the military, intelligence agencies and other government needs.
“This is essential to our national security and to U.S. leadership in this critical industry,” he said.
Schumer noted that even though the U.S. revolutionized the microelectronic industry and invented much of the key technology used to this day, competitors in Asia, especially China, have made huge investments into their microelectronics industries in recent years to challenge U.S. leadership.
In fact, Schumer pointed out, 78% of cutting-edge wafer fabrication capacity is now based in Asia, with last year being the first year that North America fell behind China.