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  • February 10, 2016

The Country Today

Fair trade more important than free trade

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Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 9:27 am

The guest opinion by Rep. Ron Kind in the March 13 issue of The Country Today (“Wisconsin farmers deserve access to global markets,” Page 6A) deserves a response. Kind quotes statistics by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection that Wisconsin is the No. 1 producer of cheese in the U.S. and No. 2 in the nation for cheese exports. He lamented the fact that even though we have trade agreements with Canada and Russia “the threat of non-tariff trade barriers, such as non-science based sanitary and phytosanitary issues and protectionist actions, are very real.”

What Kind neglected to say is that Wisconsin is also No. 1 in the U.S. when it comes to antibiotic, hormonal and other drug residues in our exported dairy and meat products. These drug residues are far above the allowable “safe” limits for human consumption not only in Canada and Russia, but also the European Union, Japan, South Korea and many other countries. But when our partners refuse to budge on these completely justified “non-tariff trade barriers” the U.S. threatens them with World Trade Organization sanctions.

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