The U.S. Dairy Export Council says the agreement reached this week between the U.S. and China will make it possible to significantly expand American dairy exports. A report says 80 U.S. processors are now officially cleared to immediately begin exporting to China, thanks to the Memorandum of Understanding between the countries. The agreement will also make it possible for another 200 processors to officially get that same clearance to ship dairy products to China. After two years of working on the deal, the countries have agreed on a system that will allow third-party certification companies to make sure that U.S. dairy facilities are in compliance with Chinese food safety requirements.
It was three years ago that China put strict requirements in place that foreign dairy suppliers be registered and certified by their regulatory agencies. Now that the complex hurdle has been overcome, Dairy Export Council CEO Tom Vilsack said this represents a tremendous opportunity for U.S. dairy producers. “China is already the world’s largest dairy importer,” Vilsack says, “and the potential to increase exports there is tremendous.” China is the third-largest importer of American dairy products, behind only Mexico and Canada.