WASHINGTON, October 4, 2021—Statement from Becky Rasdall, Vice President of Trade Policy and International Affairs for the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), released today to highlight the speech on U.S.-China trade relations by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai:
“IDFA is grateful for Ambassador Katherine Tai’s remarks today regarding U.S.-China trade relations. China has been a top five market for U.S. dairy exports for nearly 20 years. With an increasing supply of U.S. milk coming online in the next decade, cultivating a mutually beneficial trade relationship with China—the largest potential market for dairy—is absolutely critical. However, as Ambassador Tai noted today, we must also hold our trading partners to account for their commitments and actions. That is why IDFA was pleased to hear Ambassador Tai’s pledge to enforce the commitments made by China under the Phase One Agreement and to remain vigilant in defending the interests of U.S. agriculture from any current or future trade distorting practices. Ambassador Tai also pointed to developing strategic relationships with other nations to strengthen the United States’ hand in discussions with China, another welcome move from IDFA’s perspective. China’s government-controlled market and overt interest in developing its own domestic sourcing and export capacity for food and agricultural products underscore the nation’s willingness and ability to turn off U.S. agricultural imports when convenient—a concerning trend pointing to the need for the United States to advance a deeper, more strategic position on trade policy with China.
“With the United States exporting nearly 20% of its domestically produced milk in a variety of dairy products to China and other nations, IDFA members rely more and more on effective U.S. trade policy to liberalize markets, provide preferential access, and produce stable, rules-based trading opportunities for U.S. dairy exporters. China will always need the productivity and reliability of U.S. food and agriculture producers. Therefore, while the developments outlined today by Ambassador Tai demonstrate this Administration’s willingness to defend the interests of U.S. dairy, IDFA is hopeful for constructive efforts to facilitate trade with China. We look forward to collaborating with USTR and other agencies on efforts to ensure U.S. agriculture is best positioned in a competitive global marketplace.”
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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.