Three groups representing the dairy industry issued statements in reaction to the March 17 Senate confirmation of Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative.

“Katherine Tai is an experienced and knowledgeable trade expert who will position U.S. interests above those of competitors, remain vigilant to protect U.S. businesses from a myriad of barriers to trade, and who will embrace diplomacy and relationship-building,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association IDFA). “IDFA is eager to get to work with Ambassador Tai, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and the U.S. federal government to quickly and effectively negotiate preferential trade agreements with U.S. trading partners that include meaningful access for U.S. dairy and other food and agricultural goods.

“That starts with reauthorization of Trade Promotion Authority before it expires in 2021 to ensure a strong negotiating position for the United States,” he added. “The future success and viability of U.S. dairy businesses and the 3 million American jobs and over $6 billion in U.S. exports they support relies on the health of global market opportunities. IDFA offers our partnership to Ambassador Tai and the staff at USTR to position U.S. dairy for success.”

Both the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) also applauded Tai’s confirmation.

“The U.S. Dairy Export Council welcomes the swift appointment of Ms. Tai as the new U.S. Trade Representative at a time when exports of U.S. dairy products are critical to the economic wellbeing of the millions of American workers whose jobs are generated by our dairy industry,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based USDEC. “Ms. Tai’s commitment to work for all Americans provides a strong platform to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade agreements will benefit America’s agricultural community.”

NMPF and USDEC said they have enjoyed a long history of working with Tai throughout the course of numerous negotiations, including the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“On behalf of America’s 34,000 dairy producers and the dozens of farmer-owned dairy cooperatives throughout the country, NMPF commends the Senate’s approval of Ms. Tai today and we look forward to continue working with her in her new capacity as the U.S. Trade Representative,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-headquartered NMPF. “With over 15% of U.S. milk production being exported each year, enforcement of current trade agreements and opening new market opportunities overseas will help provide a profitable rural economy.”