Iowa Public Television


Bush Admin. Urges Change in Dairy Import Law

posted on August 6, 2004

The Bush administration has blocked a law that would have required dairy importers to pay fees to support promotions such as the "Got Milk?" campaign. Officials concluded the law could subject the United States to international trade challenges.

Because the U.S. dairy promotion program assesses fees only on dairy farmers in the 48 contiguous United States, charging those same fees to all imports could create the appearance of favorable treatment for the domestic industry, USDA said.

The department acted on guidance provided by the U.S. Trade Representative's office, and both agencies propose that Congress rewrite the law so farmers in all 50 states pay the assessment. Rep. Tommy Baldwin, D-Wis., plans to introduce legislation to do that this year.

Lawmakers from Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Puerto Rico, warn that imposing assessments on their dairy farmers could wipe out local production.

Tags: dairy George W. Bush government milk news