WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2021— After months of advocacy by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) with U.S. and European officials, the European Commission (EC) decided yesterday to extend the implementation deadline for its new health certificate requirements to Jan. 15, 2022, backing off threats to shut down U.S. dairy exports to EU member states as well as transshipments of U.S. dairy products through the European Union. IDFA and U.S. officials considered the certificate requirements—requiring animal health monitoring and veterinarian sign-off, among other requirements—to be burdensome and in conflict with international standards set by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). U.S. dairy exports to Europe are used to manufacture an estimated $600-900 million in global infant and adult nutrition products. The EC’s extension provides enough time for U.S. and European officials to complete their discussions and determine appropriate implementation procedures for U.S. exports.

“America’s dairy industry should not be collateral damage for trade disputes. While this stage of IDFA’s advocacy has reached a successful conclusion, we remain deeply concerned by the variety of ongoing trade barriers erected by the European Commission,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “We are grateful for the support and intervention of the Biden Administration to resolve this matter and hope the U.S. government will continue working with IDFA to help U.S. dairy gain access to the EU market.”

“We appreciate the U.S. government’s responsiveness to the concerns of the global dairy and infant formula industries, and for the European Commission’s acknowledgement of the need to delay implementation,” said Becky Rasdall, IDFA vice president for trade policy and international affairs. “This extension helps avoid needless catastrophic impacts to global nutrition supply chains and dairy-related jobs in Europe and the U.S. by granting officials enough time to provide guidance to those companies that simply want to know how to comply. It was the right thing to do.”

IDFA has been working judiciously with U.S. officials to ensure U.S. dairy exports to the EU would continue uninterrupted. IDFA requested the extension and sought the U.S. government’s support to implement the requirements as written if an extension was not granted. Even with the extension, IDFA’s members need greater clarity from both governments about certain details of the implementation plan. IDFA will continue working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to make sure those questions are resolved. Additionally, IDFA has been in contact with European dairy associations such as Eucolait, which share IDFA’s view on the disruptive nature of the EC requirements.  

IDFA member companies make and supply medically important specialized nutritional products for infants and adults that are made exclusively for European companies or shipped through EU member states. The EC import requirements on U.S. goods included onerous animal health attestations that applied to all products shipped to the EU and through its territory, including dairy shipments destined for U.S. military bases in Europe and any products shipped to other countries for further processing before being exported back to the EU.

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.3 million jobs that generate $41.6 billion in direct wages and $753 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.

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Matt Herrick

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