Contact: Peggy Armstrong
(Washington D.C. - April 27, 2010) In letters to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) urged swift action to continue uninterrupted imports of U.S. dairy products into China and to pursue a bilateral solution that will make sure that the Chinese market remains open for U.S. dairy products.
"Dairy trade with China has increased exponentially over the past few years, with exports increasing from $61.6 million in 2005 to over $180 million in 2008," said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. "If U.S. dairy exports are shut out of China, other suppliers can quickly move in and displace U.S. market share, which would result in a loss of business and jobs for American dairy processors and suppliers."
On April 22, the Chinese government informed U.S. government officials that China would block imports of U.S. dairy products beginning May 1 due to alleged deficient export certification.
The United States and China have had a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Sanitary Certificate in place since 2007. China initially had required certain animal health declarations; however, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said these mandates were unfounded, and the animal health statements were not included in the final negotiated certificate. Now China has retracted the terms of the 2007 agreement and advised the U.S. dairy industry that it will block all U.S. dairy exports within a week.
"This abrupt about-face will have a major economic impact on the U.S. dairy business at a time when it is just beginning to recover from the worldwide economic downturn," Tipton said.
Tipton emphasized that any growth the dairy industry has enjoyed over the past few years will be swiftly reversed, impeding not only dairy exports but also the overall U.S. policy initiative to increase export growth broadly across all sectors.
The letters are available here.
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $110-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.