U.S. Dairy, Agriculture Ready To Seize Global Export Opportunities
This week USDA completed its first trade mission since November 2019. Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley led a delegation of representatives from U.S. agribusinesses, farm organizations and state departments of agriculture to Dubai Feb. 16-21 to explore export opportunities across the Middle East.
“I am thrilled that USDA trade missions are back, and I am honored to lead such a dynamic group of U.S. agribusinesses and representatives to the UAE (United Arab Emirates),” Whitley said at the launch of the mission last week. “I’m confident they will all find success and discover more and better export opportunities in the Middle East region. With annual agricultural exports averaging more than $1.2 billion during the last five years, the United States is the UAE’s fourth-largest supplier of food and farm products and is poised for further export growth.”
Trade mission participants engaged directly with potential customers, received in-depth market briefings and participated in site visits, including Expo 2020 Dubai, which currently is in progress after being postponed due to the pandemic.
International trade show Gulfood also took place last week at the Dubai World Trade Centre, where several U.S. cheese and dairy companies and organizations participated, including the California Milk Advisory Board and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.
In Wisconsin this week, the state Assembly unanimously approved Senate Bill 827, legislation authored by Rep. Tony Kurtz, R-Wonewoc, and Sen. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, which repurposes $880,000 in unused federal monies to direct full funding of $1 million in 2022 for the newly launched Wisconsin Initiative for Agricultural Exports (WIAE). The Wisconsin Senate approved the bill Feb. 15, and the legislation now advances to Gov. Tony Evers, who first proposed export investments in his 2020 State of the State address.
Wisconsin dairy and ag groups, including the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), Wisconsin Dairy Products Association and Wisconsin Farm Bureau, have strongly supported this legislation, noting growing demand for export opportunities (see “Dairy groups praise Wisconsin committee action to fund research, export assistance” in the Feb. 11, 2022, issue of Cheese Market News).
“Our most sincere thanks go to Rep. Kurtz, Sen. Ballweg, agency officials and Gov. Evers for their dedicated leadership and collaborative efforts to boost Wisconsin’s agricultural industry and rural communities through smart, targeted investments in export endeavors,” says Rebekah Sweeney, WCMA senior director of programs and policy. “Wisconsin dairy processors and farmers are ready to meet the growing international demand for their safe, nutritious and delicious dairy products, and grateful to have the support of the state as they connect with consumers in emerging global markets.”
Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), WIAE is designed to boost the export of dairy, meat and other agricultural products by 25%. Half the total funds appropriated will be used specifically to increase the export sales of milk, cheese, yogurt, whey and other dairy products.
In a report issued to the Wisconsin Legislature in December, DATCP officials detailed the WIAE plans, which include participation in key international trade shows, reverse buyers’ missions, consultative and educational resources for new exporters, marketing campaigns and direct-to-industry grants.
In other trade news, China and New Zealand have announced their upgraded free trade agreement will enter into force April 7. This upgrade modernizes the original 2008 free trade agreement between the two countries, including new market access commitments in goods and service and additional trade facilitation measures.
The update doesn’t alter dairy tariff provisions — most New Zealand dairy products already can enter China freely due to the original agreement’s terms, and milk powder will be provided this benefit as well by 2024, according to Shawna Morris, senior vice president, trade policy, for the National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council.
“It’s a fresh reminder, however, that U.S. dairy exporters are increasingly operating at a disadvantage in various key markets where our major competitors have negotiated trade agreements,” Morris says. “In China, the retaliatory tariffs we face continue to pose a steep challenge for many of our exports. USDEC and NMPF are continuing to press the U.S. government to take action to close these tariff gaps we face in China as well as in other key dairy importing markets.”
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Source: Cheese Market News