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Trade Actions by Japan Could Hinder U.S. Dairy Exports

May 16, 2018

The Japanese government has implemented new measures to support its cheese industry and make domestic cheese more abundant and competitive. At the same time, Japan is entering into free trade agreements with the European Union (EU) and with the 11 countries in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The proposed agreements would lower tariffs on imported cheese and could be enacted as early as next year.

These measures and agreements could threaten the market for U.S. dairy exports to Japan, the fourth largest market for U.S. dairy products, representing sales of more than $290 million in 2017.

“Increases in Japan’s domestic production, as well as trade agreements that create room for more imported non-U.S. cheeses, will certainly change the landscape for U.S. products in the Japanese market,” said Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs. “IDFA has repeatedly stressed to the administration and Congress that trade agreements with markets in the Asia-Pacific region are critically important to the continued growth of the U.S. dairy industry, and are necessary to ensure we maintain market access when these countries enter new pacts.”


The Japanese government has allocated the equivalent of $141 million U.S. dollars to increase its production of natural cheeses. The funds will be used to support new programs designed to expand output on Japanese dairy farms and in cheese manufacturing facilities. They also will support cheesemaking and marketing training courses and measures to increase Japanese cheese consumption, such as activities that incorporate cheese into Japanese food culture.

IDFA will continue to work with federal officials and members of Congress to advocate for expanded opportunities for dairy in new trade agreements and more market access for dairy products abroad.

For more information, contact Hughes at

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