China Blocks US Dairy Imports

US - In letters to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) urged swift action to continue uninterrupted imports of US dairy products into China and to pursue a bilateral solution that will make sure that the Chinese market remains open for US dairy products.
calendar icon 28 April 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

"Dairy trade with China has increased exponentially over the past few years, with exports increasing from $61.6 million in 2005 to over $180 million in 2008," said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. "If US dairy exports are shut out of China, other suppliers can quickly move in and displace U.S. market share, which would result in a loss of business and jobs for American dairy processors and suppliers."

On April 22, the Chinese government informed US government officials that China would block imports of US dairy products beginning May 1 due to alleged deficient export certification.

The United States and China have had a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Sanitary Certificate in place since 2007. China initially had required certain animal health declarations; however, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said these mandates were unfounded, and the animal health statements were not included in the final negotiated certificate. Now China has retracted the terms of the 2007 agreement and advised the US dairy industry that it will block all US dairy exports within a week.

"This abrupt about-face will have a major economic impact on the US dairy business at a time when it is just beginning to recover from the worldwide economic downturn," Ms Tipton said.

Ms Tipton emphasised that any growth the dairy industry has enjoyed over the past few years will be swiftly reversed, impeding not only dairy exports but also the overall US policy initiative to increase export growth broadly across all sectors.

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