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U.S. Dairy Exports Fall Back from Record Highs in 2023, Underscoring Need for New Market Access

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2024—Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), released the following statement today on the U.S. agricultural export data for calendar year 2023 released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The 2023 agricultural export data released today by USDA is a mixed bag for U.S. dairy. While U.S. agriculture is experiencing a trade imbalance, U.S. dairy is pleased to be an outlier enjoying a sizeable trade surplus. However, total U.S. dairy export value fell by $1.5 billion while volume declined by 7% in 2023, underscoring a clear need for U.S. trade officials to focus on creating new, preferential market opportunities for American producers and food exporters while holding trade partners accountable to rules and agreements. For example, exports to Canada are nowhere close to the projections promised U.S. dairy in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement due to consistent barriers erected by the Government of Canada that prevent American exporters from filling their tariff quotas. Further, demand remains soft in key markets such as China and Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia, illustrating the need for a strategic approach to trade with markets in the Asia Pacific region. Overall, U.S. dairy exports performed better than most other commodities, but we are not meeting our capabilities. U.S. dairy boasts the lowest carbon intensity footprint globally, remains competitively priced and sets quality standards worldwide. However, the lack of export opportunities hampers our ability to leverage these strengths.

“U.S. dairy relies on export growth to capture the growing productivity of U.S. dairy farmers. Without exports, we risk stagnation, jeopardizing investments, jobs, and future competitiveness in the global marketplace. IDFA urges members of Congress and the Administration to come together on a realistic trade agenda that prioritizes preferential access for U.S. dairy exports.”

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