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USTR Report Identifies Burdens to Dairy Trade

Apr 06, 2017

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) highlighted prominent obstacles to open access of dairy products in its National Trade Estimate Report, a 500-page document released last week to help negotiators and diplomats determine policy objectives.

Published annually, the report outlines government laws, regulations, policies or practices that “protect domestic goods and services from foreign competition, artificially stimulate exports of particular domestic goods and services, or fail to provide adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights.”

In October, IDFA submitted comments to USTR highlighting obstacles to trade that the U.S. dairy industry faces in Canada, the European Union, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam. Several of these issues were captured in the report.


Canada was featured prominently in the report, which identified several burdens to U.S. dairy trade:

  • Restrictive regulations on compositional standards for cheese that discriminate against U.S. dry milk protein concentrate;
  • Canada’s supply management system that subjects cheese and butter to tariffs of 245 percent and 298 percent, respectively, for over-the-quota products; and
  • Producer marketing boards that regulate price and supply.

Recent expansions to the Special Milk Class Permit Program, which unfairly incentivizes the purchasing of domestic ingredients over imports, were also mentioned. 

More information on Canada can be found here.

European Union

The report noted the European Union’s consistent attempts to expand protection guaranteed for geographical indications to common food names for the benefit of their domestic industries. It also identified several members of the EU that are in "the process of developing and implementing a variety of country of origin labeling schemes that would require an indication of the origin of milk products as well as the origin of milk, meat and wheat used as ingredients in certain processed foods.”

More information on geographical indications can be found here.

Other Countries

Other barriers faced by U.S. dairy companies also were included in the report, such as Indonesia’s restrictions on advertising or promoting milk products for children up to two years of age and Japan’s high tariffs levied against U.S. cheese imports. These tariffs amount to 40 percent of prices for processed cheese and 29.8 percent of prices for natural cheese respectively.

The full report can be found here.

For more information contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at

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