Study: U.S. dairy farmers could lose $1.3 billion in exports without Japan trade deal

In the United States, dairy prices have dropped to historic lows and dairy farms across are struggling to stay in business. File photo: Wikimedia Commons/Scott Bauer

EVANSVILLE, Ind., Jan. 30 (UPI) — U.S. dairy farmers could lose $1.3 billion in exports over the next decade unless the Trump administration brokers a favorable trade deal with Japan, a new industry-funded study says.

Japan is currently the fourth-largest export destination for U.S. dairy exports, according to the report released by the U.S. Dairy Export Council. However, Japan currently has favorable trade deals with Australia, New Zealand and the European Union. Those deals will allow those countries to overtake the U.S. in dairy exports in the coming years, the report says.

“These agreements will give our competition a significant economic advantage that will enable them to increase their market share in Japan, costing the U.S. dairy industry billions of dollars in lost sales,” Tom Vilsack, the dairy export council’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“U.S. dairy farmers and processors strongly support the administration’s launch of trade talks with Japan,” Vilsack said. “We hope this report provides fresh ammunition to our negotiators about why a strong U.S.-Japan agreement is so important for American agriculture.”

The export council sent its report, released Wednesday, to administration officials and members of Congress in hopes it will spur them to seek a deal.

“U.S. dairy farmers are facing economic hardships, and expanding opportunities overseas is the best way to counter that,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “A trade deal with Japan that significantly expands dairy access would make 2019 a brighter year.”


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