Supporting Free Trade

Bush to lead efforts on CAFTA-DR.
In May, President George W. Bush pledged to get personally involved in the fight for congressional approval of the U.S. Free Trade Agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic (CAFTA-DR). His remarks were made during a meeting with six presidents of CAFTA-DR nations, who were in Washington, D.C., to talk to Congress about the benefits of the trade pact.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and other supporters of the pact welcomed the news. “President Bush’s personal leadership will bring a much-needed boost to the agreement’s supporters on Capitol Hill,” said Clay Hough, IDFA senior vice president and general counsel. “This is an excellent time for our members to redouble their efforts to contact lawmakers in support of this deal, which would create new market opportunities for U.S. dairy products.”
Hough added that “CAFTA-DR is crucial to demonstrating the United States’ commitment to free trade, which is particularly important for a successful agreement in the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round.”
Meanwhile, in the Senate, current discussions are focused on whether sugar provisions of the agreement will be altered. While the vast majority of the U.S. food and agriculture community supports CAFTA-DR, sugar growers are among the strongest opponents of the agreement, which permits a minimal amount of sugar imports to enter the United States.
Hough noted that three of the Central American countries — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — have already ratified the agreement. “The sugar lobby should not be able to change a deal that the United States has already made with trading partners,” he said.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), whose committee has jurisdiction over trade agreements, said that he will not accept a sugar compromise that alters the underlying text of the agreement. A letter to House leadership in support of CAFTA-DR was drafted May 25. Signers included representatives from virtually all agricultural sectors.
For background information or details on how to contact Congress with your opinion of CAFTA-DR, visit www.idfa.org.  

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partnership with Organic Valley is indicative of the dairy’s commitment to giving consumers a choice for their families. “Oakhurst recognizes the fact that northern New England consumers who drink milk want a choice,” says Stanley Bennett, president of Oakhurst. “Whether they want whole, lowfat, fat-free or flavored milk, milk for lactose-sensitive consumers, creams or a variety of organic milk products, when people buy milk from Oakhurst, they want fresh, natural milk products with no artificial growth hormones used.” Distribution began in April.
Last month, whether consumers were looking for something south of the border or craving an old favorite, Wisconsin cheese had it covered. The May Cheese of the Month program from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board kept things interesting with cheddar, a Wisconsin classic, along with queso blanco and queso fresco, two popular Hispanic-style cheeses. Specialty-cheese stores throughout Wisconsin showcased these selections during the month by offering samples, serving tips, pairing suggestions and recipes to consumers hoping to put a twist in their mealtime routine. May’s Fiesta Pizza with Wisconsin queso blanco was a fitting choice for Cinco de Mayo celebrations, while Wisconsin Cheese Scalloped Carrots made a scrumptious accompaniment to many meals. For more information about the Wisconsin Cheese of the Month program, recipes and a list of participating Wisconsin cheese specialty stores, visit www.wisdairy.com/com.