U.S. Dairy Making Inroads Back Into China After the Trade War


The U.S. Heartland China Association recently hosted a roundtable discussion on the trading relationship between the U.S. and China. Agriculture and trade officials from both countries talked about ways to go about improving the relationship between the nations. Krysta Harden, President and CEO of the U.S Dairy Export Council, says America’s dairy farmers have a lot to offer to Chinese consumers.

“It really has been about our ingredients; that’s where we are advancing and accelerating in many key areas here. And hopefully, you’ll be able to dig a little deeper on some of these areas, but certainly talking about product nutrition and education, the innovation, the ideas of what consumers want, and how we can meet them in the marketplace. And I mentioned sustainability, about producing our products in a lasting way, making sure it’s also good for the planet. Those are key elements that really do drive our relationship and our exports to China.”

The recent trade war between the two countries took a toll on American dairy, but the good news is that dairy exports to China are bouncing back. “China is a very, very key market for U.S. dairy; number three. It’s a market that has been growing, a market that is important to us, and one that we would like to see improve over time. But the tariffs took a toll. There is absolutely no doubt, so we should look at the numbers and the recovery; you can see that we are making progress and things are coming back. But it was a very, very tough, difficult process for U.S. dairies through the tariffs.”

The Dairy Export Council is making inroads into China by forming partnerships to find out what Chinese consumers want in dairy. “The one thing we have done is try to join forces and build partnerships in-country to have programs that will help us spur product development, looking at what the Chinese consumers want. And their demand for health and well-being products is a growing area, and we know that we can help meet that. We’re working with the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology on different products and prototypes that might meet that growing demand. So, we were excited about working together to build these partnerships to find answers for your consumers.”

Dairy has also established a partnership with a prominent university in China to continue building on established relationships in the country. “We’ve had a great partnership with Yuhan University that we started by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in 2018, and it has been a great relationship. It continues to grow, and we continue to have a great relationship with the students working on different products, developing great ideas there, and we’re really excited about these relationships and what they might be in the future.”

Again, Krysta Harden is CEO and President of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.