The first major trade dispute of the Biden administration will apparently be over dairy exports to Canada.
Trade officials have signaled their willingness to carry on with a dispute filed in the last month of the Trump administration under USMCA, the trade agreement that replaced NAFTA. That filing charged Canada with not allowing enough American imports of value-added dairy products like cheese and yogurt.
Under USMCA’s provisions for conflict resolution, a panel with representatives from both nations will be created to settle the dispute. If no agreement is reached, the door is opened to punitive tariffs. This is the first such complaint to be heard under USMCA.
“Launching the first panel request under the agreement will ensure our dairy industry and its workers can seize new opportunities under the USMCA to market and sell U.S. products to Canadian consumers,” the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement.
Canadian trade and dairy officials denied violating USMCA and said they would vigorously defend their position in proceedings.