Several members of Congress are encouraging the swift passage of a Phase Two agreement with Japan so that U.S. producers will have better dairy access. In a letter addressed to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the bipartisan group of 51 lawmakers highlighted the importance of the Japanese market for American dairy producers.
“Japan is one of the top five overseas markets for Made-in-America dairy products, and increasing demand from both Japanese food processors and consumers has created an incredible opportunity for the U.S. dairy industry,” the group stated in the letter. “Over the coming years, domestic Japanese dairy production will be insufficient to meet demand. America’s dairy industry stands willing and ready to meet this need.”
The letter was led by Representatives Josh Harder, Ron Kind, Lloyd Smucker, and Roger Marshall, with support from dozens of other lawmakers. The letter cited information from a 2019 study from the U.S. Dairy Export Council that highlighted the growth potential in the Japanese market. The study showed that if U.S. dairy access was equal to other global competitors, the U.S. could nearly double its share of the Japanese market over the next ten years.
“America’s dairy industry is ready to meet Japan’s growing demand for wholesome dairy products. However, in order to fully secure necessary market access, the U.S. must act swiftly to break down the remaining trade barriers that have left our producers at a disadvantage in this important dairy market,” President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation Jim Mulhern said in a news release.
California producers stand to gain significantly if dairy access is increased in Japan. According to the California Department of Agriculture, Japan if the fourth-largest export market for California dairy products, with more than $100 million in exports every year. The value of California dairy exports to Japan increased by 22 percent between 2017 and 2018.