Earlier this week, the USDA reversed import tax policies set by the Bush administration regarding taxes placed on imported dairy products. The tax policy was originally part of the 2002 Farm Bill and amended in the 2008 Farm Bill.
The bill, however, determined that the tax could only be implemented if it did not conflict with existing U.S. trade regulations. The Bush administration had previously declined to implement the tax, a policy recently reversed by President Barack Obama. The government will now charge 7.5 cents for every 100 pounds of dairy products imported into the country.
Dairy farmers have long sought fees to discourage the importation of foreign dairy products and to increase domestic consumption. The recent economic downturn as well as the difficulty faced by dairy farms across the country has only increased these demands. In a news release, Jerome Kozak, CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, stated that these new regulations would help impose fairness on milk production. “Dairy importers, who benefit from the world’s largest dairy market, need to help pay to expand that market, the same way that our farmers do.”
Others are less optimistic about the regulations. The International Dairy Foods Association opposed the decision, claiming that it could discourage international trade. The IDFA also represents several U.S. companies that import dairy products which have likewise come out in opposition of this tax. These companies include Kraft Foods and Dean Foods.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer