The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News

  • Phase One U.S. trade deal with China positive step but U.S. dairy industry still needs tariffs lifted

    By Mark O'Keefe January 16, 2020

    China's retaliatory tariffs have contributed to a 47% drop in U.S. dairy exports to China over a 12-month period.  

    China hero image41-2

    Click image above to see USDEC-NMPF joint news release on the Phase One trade deal with China.


    A Phase One trade agreement between the U.S. and China signed Wednesday makes progress for the U.S. dairy industry on regulatory restrictions and other nontariff barriers hurting dairy exports to China.

    But for the U.S. dairy industry to recover from double-digit declines of exports to the world's most populated country, Chinese retaliatory tariffs on U.S. dairy products and ingredients need to be lifted,  said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

    "Finish the job" by lifting China's tariffs on U.S. dairy exports

    "These are important deliverables that USDEC has been pressing China for over the course of the last few years,” said Vilsack in a joint news release with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “We need to continue to work with our government, China’s government and our customers to finish the job by lifting the remaining Chinese retaliatory tariffs against our exports.”


    chart showing how U.S. dairy exports to China fell (2)


    Over the 12-month period spanning December 2018 – November 2019, U.S. dairy exports to China totaled $377 million in sales. However, retaliatory tariffs on U.S. dairy products have steeply disadvantaged the U.S. industry compared to its competitors and contributed to a 47% decline in U.S. exports to China over that same period.

    Farmers hurt by Chinese retaliatory tariffs

    “America’s dairy farmers have been disproportionately harmed by China’s retaliatory tariffs, and we cannot ask our farmers to continue operating under this financial uncertainty,” said Randy Mooney, dairy farmer from Rogersville, Mo., and Chairman of NMPF, who joined President Trump and administration officials at the White House signing ceremony on Wednesday.

    “We appreciate the hard work invested by both the U.S. and Chinese governments, but we urge China to swiftly lift all retaliatory tariffs against U.S. dairy products and work with U.S. suppliers to fulfill their purchasing commitment," Mooney said. 

    Getting dairy industry's message out through news media

    Secretary Vilsack is discussing both the China trade deal and the expected passage of USMCA in media interviews this week. We will update this section as news warrants.

    Audio from two of the interviews is available by clicking the links at the end of these tweets.


    In an interview with RFD-TV, Vilsack said the Phase One trade deal with China offers “terrific opportunities” for the dairy industry. That, along with congressional passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement and the Japanese Phase One agreement, “puts us in a more hopeful and optimistic mood as we begin 2020,” he said.

    For more dairy-relevant details about the impact of The Phase One agreement, particularly the progress on nontariff barriers, read the joint news release by USDEC and NMPF.

    Read full news release

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    The U.S. Dairy Export Council fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. USDEC is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff. How to republish this post.  

    Trade Policy China
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