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IDFA Stresses Need for Action at WTO Ministerial Conference

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2024—As the 13th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference kicked off in Abu Dhabi today, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) stressed the importance of reform and highlighted ways that the U.S. government can work to break the gridlock that has hampered U.S. dairy exports in recent years. Becky Rasdall, vice president of trade policy and international affairs for IDFA released the following statement:

“Meaningful reforms that would improve market access for agricultural products and the WTO’s dispute settlement system have escaped recent WTO ministerial conferences. The U.S. dairy industry is limited by this inaction as we seek to alleviate global food insecurity challenges through our nutritious and sustainable products.

“The U.S. dairy industry and our partners across U.S. agriculture are hopeful this week’s conference charts a path toward concrete, binding commitments, consistent with our recent proposals to the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In particular, we suggest that ongoing conversations around domestic support are balanced by commensurate market access discussions, and we urge the U.S. government to work to restore a binding dispute settlement system at the WTO. In the event these reforms do not reach consensus among the body’s 164 members, we encourage the U.S. government to pursue plurilateral negotiations to advance these and other critical reform priorities.”

IDFA members support meaningful WTO reform across multiple subjects as one of their trade priorities. IDFA supports this priority in part through its active participation in the Aggies for WTO Reform Coalition since 2022, joining with representatives from across U.S. agriculture to ensure U.S. dairy’s interests are being represented at the WTO.

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