Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - September 24 


Update: A second accuser emerges with misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: We take you to a state where more than 60,000 kids are chronically absent from school; and we'll let you know why the rural digital divide can be a twofold problem.

Daily Newscasts

Wisconsin Dairy Farmers Eager for Details of U.S.-Mexico Trade Deal

Wisconsin dairy farmers and cheese makers are awaiting details of a new trade deal between the U.S. and Mexico that they hope will help boost business. (Pixabay)
Wisconsin dairy farmers and cheese makers are awaiting details of a new trade deal between the U.S. and Mexico that they hope will help boost business. (Pixabay)
August 30, 2018

PLYMOUTH, Wis. – The preliminary U.S.-Mexico trade deal announced this week by President Donald Trump is seen as welcome news by Wisconsin dairy farmers and cheese makers, even if they haven’t read the fine print.

Mexico and Canada are two of Wisconsin's biggest trading partners, and the dairy industry has been hit hard by ongoing trade disputes.

The deal with Mexico calls for no tariffs on dairy and agricultural products, which for cheese had been hovering at 15 to 25 percent.

Jeff Schwager, president of Sartori Cheese in Plymouth, exports his products to 49 different countries and says he's happy to see those tariffs dropped.

"It's really difficult for a company like us,” he states. “We age cheese – so basically, cheese we made a year ago under certain trade rules was what we were expecting to sell here in July and August. And all of a sudden, you've got these tariffs on them."

Trump says he intends to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement and that the U.S. will immediately begin negotiations with Canada, the third party in the trilateral trade pact.

Schwager acknowledges the Trump announcement was short on detail, so he's eager to see and confirm which programs will remain in play.

For instance, he says there still might be a problem if Mexico doesn't extend the same protections for product names in the U.S., as it did for Europe.

"We've had to change the name of some of our products going into Mexico because we can no longer use the name 'asagio,'” he points out. “That's a protected name for the Europeans now in Mexico, and we had to switch our product name to 'Sartiago.'"

Schwager says his company has seen about a 30 percent reduction in volume as a result of dealing with the name changes.

He adds it is equally important to quickly form a new deal with Canada.

The United States hopes to get a final deal signed before the Mexican president leaves office in December.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - WI