International Dairy Foods Association: European Union, Japan trade agreement could be bad for U.S. dairy industry | TheFencePost.com

International Dairy Foods Association: European Union, Japan trade agreement could be bad for U.S. dairy industry

The Hagstrom Report

The free trade agreement announced last week between the European Union and Japan looks "ominous" for the U.S. dairy industry, a key official at the International Dairy Foods Association told The Hagstrom Report.

The deal includes reductions in Japanese tariffs on European cheeses and the acceptance of a system of geographical indicators, or GIs, that require only a cheese from a place of origin can bear that location's name.

"The EU-Japan bilateral agreement could be an ominous portent for U.S. dairy exports to Japan," said Beth Hughes, the IDFA director of international affairs, in an email.

"The Department of Agriculture projects that U.S. milk production will grow by 23 percent over the next 10 years," Hughes said. "Given that today we are exporting 15 percent of our total production, there needs to be increased export opportunities for approximately 80 billion pounds of milk over the next 10 years. Bilateral agreements, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, are critical if we are to attain our future export potential and continue to support American jobs. This agreement enhances the EU as a competitor to the U.S. for dairy exports to Japan now and in the future.

"The EU is currently negotiating a deal with Mexico on GIs, concluded one with Canada last year, and now they've struck one with Japan. We still need to see all the details but we are concerned about which common food names will be affected and how that will impact U.S. cheese exports to Japan."

Publications have also noted the threat to the U.S. dairy industry as well as other sectors, including meat and wine.

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