Top U.S. dairy industry officials are headed to Mexico next week on a mission to save their top export market as European Union and New Zealand competitors look for ways to exploit the uncertainties created by President Donald Trump’s push to renegotiate NAFTA.
“We want to reemphasize the fact that Mexico is a valued customer for dairy,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “Obviously any agreement that’s been around for awhile has areas where there can be improvements, but we want to make sure they understand, from our perspective, that preserving NAFTA is important.”
That’s a message the former Agriculture secretary also has for the Trump administration as it looks to make changes to NAFTA to “bring back” manufacturing jobs to the United States.
Vilsack and Jim Mulhern, the president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federations, participated in a joint interview with POLITICO on Friday, just days before they are set to join Michael Dykes, the CEO and president of the International Dairy Foods Association, Jaime Castaneda, NMPF’s senior VP for strategic initiatives and trade policy, and Mark O’Keefe, USDEC’s VP for editorial services, on a flight to Mexico City for the annual meeting of the Mexican Milk Producers Federation and to meet with the country’s secretary of agriculture.