The U.S. Dairy Export Council, Arlington, Va., is supporting an ad-hoc coalition of 16 dairy companies and organizations fighting a plan to further restrict U.S. access to the tight Canadian cheese market.

The coalition was formed to oppose a plan it says would “sizably” reduce access for U.S. exports to enter Canada through low-tariff avenues by reserving a much larger slice of access to the Canadian market for the European Union. In addition to hurting U.S. cheese exports, the organizations say the Canadian plan violates the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which bars countries from using free trade agreements to restrict trade.

“The Canada-EU free trade agreement was already problematic because it bars U.S. companies from using several common cheese names on products headed across our northern border,” said Tom Suber, president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council “And now it is clear that the same FTA would reserve 800 tons of an already low quota for cheese imports for the EU.”

“This is not just bad policy,” said Ken Meyers of MCT Dairies, a company helping lead this fight. “It flies in the face of what free trade agreements are all about. They are supposed to open trade, not restrict it.”

 Following are the companies and organizations currently in the new coalition: Atalanta Corp., Elizabeth, N.J.; Darigold, Seattle; Dairy Farmers of America, Kansas City, Mo.; Emmi Roth USA, Monroe, Wis.; Fonterra (USA), Rosemont, Ill.; Gellert Global Group, Elizabeth, N.J.; International Dairy Foods Association, Washington, D.C.; Kraft Foods Group, Northfield, Ill.; Land O’ Lakes, St. Paul, Minn.; MCT Dairies, Millburn, N.J.; Norseland, Darien, Conn.; Sartori Cheese, Plymouth, Wis.; Tipico Products, Lakewood, N.J.; Trugman Nash, Millburn, N.J.; U.S. Dairy Export Council, Arlington, Va.; and Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Madison