The MOU, a project underway within the agencies since 2017, is designed to maximize efficiency in the U.S. government’s support for U.S. dairy export requests from foreign governments by outlining each agency’s primary areas of responsibility for dairy exports. For example, FDA’s responsibilities as outlined in the MOU focus on ensuring dairy products are safe and liaising with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), and foreign governments on relevant food safety questions as necessary. AMS’s responsibilities focus on providing sanitary certificates and other export-related services to dairy exporters, such as export verification programs or facilitating the submission of facility questionnaires to foreign governments as needed. FAS’s responsibilities focus on facilitating sanitary certificate negotiations and liaising with foreign governments on matters related to dairy exports.
Beyond individual agency responsibilities, the MOU outlines how the agencies will communicate and collaborate to ensure dairy export markets remain open when new foreign requirements arise requiring the U.S. government’s response, such as recently implemented or revised certificates in China or Taiwan. The MOU also provides a published reference of each agency’s involvement in the export of U.S. dairy products, which will help address questions from foreign governments that may not have previously understood that more than one agency is involved in dairy exports.
“In recent years, more and more countries have erected obstacles and barriers to U.S. dairy exports, including increasingly complex requirements for statements, certificates, questionnaires, and facility listings,” said Dykes. “While the U.S. government opposes overly burdensome requirements on behalf of U.S. food and agricultural exporters, U.S. officials are barraged with an influx of requests from foreign governments that make it increasingly difficult for all U.S. parties. This MOU keeps our dairy industry and U.S. government a step ahead, positioning U.S. dairy for growth by streamlining roles and resources already in place.”
In 2019, the United States exported $5.9 billion in dairy products, one of the strongest years on record for dairy exports. The MOU is effective immediately and can be reviewed here.