ALBANY -- New York’s dairy industry could be facing a $50 million market loss if proposed provincial standards are enforced across Canada, state officials are warning.
In a letter dated Oct. 25 to Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the Canadian government to develop an national agreement that would benefit both sides of the Canadian-American border, allowing New York to continue exporting dairy to its northern neighbors.
“New York's dairy sector is an essential part of our agricultural industry, and these regulations could have devastating effects on our dairy farmers and their families," Cuomo said Monday in a statement.
Whatever policy decisions are made in Canada would have a profound impact on New York.
The state exports more to Canada than any other country in the world, with $33 billion in sales last year. And at least 50 percent of all New York’s international exports are dairy products.
In 2015, $2.5 billion in sales in New York came from dairy products.
The province of Ontario and the Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee recently introduced new regulatory plans: the Ontario Class 6 regulation and the establishment of a new National Ingredient Strategy, which could restrict Canadian imports of New York’s ultra-filtered milk.
The protein-rich skim milk is typically used in the production of cheese and yogurt.
In his letter, Cuomo asked the Canadian government to confirm that these regulatory plans are compliant with the North American Free Trade Agreement and current World Trade Organization policies.
There was no immediate comment from Canadian officials to Cuomo's letter.
According to Kevin Ellis, CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients, Canada’s regulations are inconsistent with NAFTA and WTO rules.
If the regulations were implemented, the Auburn-based company estimated it could potentially lose 25 percent of its sales, he said in a statement.
"The farmer owners of Cayuga Milk Ingredients invested over $104 million in a state-of-the-art milk processing facility to market their dairy ingredients worldwide, which includes the production of ultra-filtered milk," Ellis said in a statement from Cuomo's office.
Recently, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Canada to discuss New York’s concerns with Canadian officials.
In 2012, Cuomo battled with Canadian officials over the future of the Peace Bridge in Buffalo that links the two countries.