The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced up to $16 billion in relief to U.S. agriculture as retaliatory tariffs from trading partners continue to disrupt U.S. export activity. International Dairy Foods Association president and CEO Michael Dykes, D.V.M., commended the announcement and appealed to the Administration to continue to focus on growing food and agricultural exports for dairy and other agriculture products.
While we welcome this support for the dairy industry, we strongly hope trade mitigation measures are replaced in short order by expanded trade opportunities. Retaliatory tariffs by China and other important markets haveled to huge losses for our IDFA members while the Chinese market has increased dairy imports since the initial tariffs went into effect last July. Sales of U.S. dairy to China are down through March, with U.S. cheese exports declining 44 percent and U.S. whey to China falling 32 percent during the past nine months. What we need is a predictable, transparent and rules-based system of international trade that provides the agricultural economy with certainty and a clear path to growth. Most importantly, we must regain market share from our competitors who’ve benefited from these trade disputes. Over the next decade, China represents a $23 billion market opportunity for U.S. dairy, and it is essential to our nation’s economic future that make the most of it.”
USDA said that the trade mitigation payments and assistance to producers will be expanded to cover a wider variety of commodities, including to dairy farmers and for dairy products. USDA said the program is expected to go into effect by July 2019. Dykes stressed that the outstanding details on dairy farmer payments and the $1.4 billion commodity purchases are very important to IDFA members, who have already suffered a loss in dairy product sales in foreign countries where they have invested significantly to develop these export markets.
“Secretary Perdue understands and appreciates the role American food and agriculture play in global trade, and we’re grateful to him and his team for their support,” Dykes said.