The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • USDEC trip to Mexico invests in relationships

    By Jaclyn Krymowski June 23, 2022

    Increasing dairy demand, stressing the importance of trade and sharing common goals were themes of USDEC President and CEO Krysta Harden’s trip to Mexico.

    Mexico5-2USDEC’s Krysta Harden met with Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier, center, and Under Secretary Luz Maria de La Mora. They joined their colleagues in raising a glass of cold milk to Mexican dairy producers while celebrating their shared commitment to USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement).

    Strong, mutual partnerships between governments, people and industries are at the root of successful trade policy and market development. Strengthening these bonds requires ongoing efforts and open discussions about shared issues, concerns, goals and opportunities.

    For these reasons, and others, USDEC President and CEO Krysta Harden traveled to Mexico from May 31 to June 1 for nearly non-stop meetings with dairy and government leaders.

    “You can’t let anyone think you are taking them for granted, especially in Mexico, our largest integrated export market,” said Harden after visiting the country for the first time as USDEC’s top executive. “It’s critical to be present, to define yourself, so others don’t define you.”

    In 2021, dairy trade between the U.S. and Mexico was valued at $1.8 billion, accounting for nearly one-fourth of all U.S. dairy export value. Mexican dairy sales increased 10% in 2021 and growth is expected to continue throughout this year.

    Building on past success

    “We have been incredibly successful in building this partnership over the years,” said Jaime Castaneda, USDEC’s executive vice president, policy development. “Mexico is our most important partner—we have worked together to grow the market.”

    Castaneda and Mexico office head Rodrigo Fernandez joined Harden during the trip. In meetings, they emphasized that the U.S. and Mexico share common objectives to increase consumer dairy demand as well as protecting the image of dairy.

    Media coverage in Mexico

    Krysta Harden also discussed with the media the importance of dairy’s nutritional value for children, dairy role in sustainability and the role of farmers in both countries. In addition, Harden shared the importance of trade between our countries and preserving the integrity of common dairy product names.

    In an interview with the influential newspaper Reforma, Harden highlighted the importance of U.S. dairy products to Mexico. The country currently faces a dairy deficit between 25% and 30%. U.S. dairy supplies more than 80% of Mexican consumer demand—mainly cheeses, whey proteins and milk powder.

    “Sometimes trade is misunderstood. Trade is not that one industry overrides the other. It’s about ensuring that healthy products are incorporated into more diets,” explained Harden.

    Bilateral trade agreements such as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) mutually benefit the broader dairy industries in both countries.

    Harden also appeared on El Financiero TV with reporter Susana Sáenz Arelle to share the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship to address the challenges and capitalize on opportunities in the dairy industry of both nations.

    "We are committed to this relationship—not just one way,” said Harden. “If it doesn't benefit (Mexican) consumers and (the Mexican) industry, it doesn't benefit us. There has to be trust helping each other.”

    Social media

    As a roundup of USDEC photos and tweets shown below, the whirlwind trip had Harden and her team connecting with influencers who can continue to make Mexico the U.S. dairy industry’s No. 1 export market.


    A meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar. Discussion covered topics related to the strong and prolific partnership between the U.S. and Mexican dairy industries along with their integrated markets and economies.

    Another toast with Harden and Maria del Refugio Camarena, president of the livestock committee of the Mexican House of Representatives. The two discussed more ways to collaborate for increasing Mexican dairy consumption and working with farmers in both countries for better sustainability and production.

    Nestle’s Mexico Corporate Affairs Director Juan Carlos Pardo met with President Harden to discuss both challenges and opportunities in the U.S. and Mexican dairy sectors. These include areas of sustainability, supply chain and increasing dairy consumption.

    The president of Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas (National Confederation of Livestock Organizations) spoke with Harden on increasing consumer dairy demand. This will not only help local Mexican farmers, but it would also boost demand in the U.S. integrated market.

    President of an influential Mexican food and agriculture organization, Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (the National Agriculture Council/CNA) Juan Cortina met with Harden to discuss dairy’s nutritional value and the importance of strong partnerships with nations like the U.S. CNA is notably among Mexico’s most influential organizations in food and agriculture.

    Harden and Mexico Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Victor Villalobos shared discussions on sustainability, regulations and increasing milk consumption.

    Harden also met with key dairy industry leaders about ways both countries can benefit farmers. This included the president of the Comisión Ejecutiva Bovinos Leche (Milk and Dairy Executive Commission) and Gremio Lechero (a dairy farmer association), Salvador Alvarez; and Miguel Garcia Paredes, corporate affairs director of Grupo Lala and executive secretary of CNA’s Dairy Commission.

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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. 

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