China deal set to boost US dairy exports as trade talks heat up

The agreement will benefit more than 200 US dairy exporters while paving the way for new opportunities in China, the US Dairy Export Council said

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 June, 2017, 7:06am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 June, 2017, 7:48am

China and the US signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday that will increase American dairy exports to China, a major US dairy industry association said, in a deal that marks new progress in the two sides’ ongoing negotiations towards a larger mid-July trade agreement.

The memorandum will benefit more than 200 US dairy exporters in the short term and pave the way for additional US entrants in the future, according to a statement released by the US Dairy Export Council, an industry group representing more than 120 American dairy companies.

The statement added that this action creates new, sizable opportunities for dairy farmers and processors and the milk, cheese, infant formula and ingredients they produce.

“This deal marks a significant opportunity for the US dairy industry,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. “China is already the world’s largest dairy importer, even though per capita consumption remains far below that of the United States, Europe and even its Asian neighbours like Japan and South Korea. The potential to increase exports there is tremendous.”

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The US and China have been engaging in direct trade talks in what they have called a “100-day plan” to reduce a bilateral trade deficit and expand market access in each other’s economies since US President Donald Trump met his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping in early April at Mar-a-Largo.

Under initial results announced on May 12, US beef, natural gas and certain financial services will be allowed into China by July 16 when the two nations are expected to finalise a deal during high-level talks in Washington. The discussions will be co-chaired from the US side by US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

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After the 100-day plan, the two sides intend to enter another “one-year cycle” of negotiations, Mnuchin said during a US-China Business Council meeting in early June, indicating there are more specific trade disputes to solve.