US dairy leaders reassure Mexico of trade commitments

Dive Brief:

  • Three U.S. dairy organizations said they would continue to uphold their strong commitment to their time-tested partnership with Mexico’s dairy industry and consumers, according to a news release published in Food Manufacturing.
  • Among those speaking out were former U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary and U.S. Dairy Export Council President and CEO Tom Vilsack, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation  Jim Mulhern, and President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association Michael Dykes.
  • The reassurance from the trio of U.S. dairy leaders was welcomed news, considering political uncertainty on both sides of the border.

Dive Insight:

Mexico is the largest importer of U.S. dairy products, according to the USDA. Dairy exports to Mexico totaled $1.2 billion in 2016, a number that has been rising almost annually over the last decade.

However, potential issues with Mexican trade are top-of-mind for many in the food and grocery industries, as the Trump administration has caused tensions to mount between the two countries.

The support of the three U.S. leaders has to be a welcome sign to Mexico who have to be wondering what will happen next with President Trump. Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, summed up the feeling of all the leaders when he said the goal of visiting Mexico was to communicate the dairy industry’s “steadfast commitment to our partnership with the Mexican industry.”

Considering the long partnership in dairy trade between the U.S. and Mexico, it may take a lot to substantially change the relationship between the two countries. Earlier this month, produce companies on both sides of the border said that they aren't worried about the Trump administration's potential trade policies.

It remains to be seen what changes may come in terms of international trade. However, the U.S. reassurances mean something. As an eight-year member of former president Obama's Cabinet, Vilsack knows exactly what the president can and cannot do when it comes to agricultural issues, as well as what it takes for an idea that comes from the Oval Office to be transformed into policy.

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Policy