New U.S.-China partnership lays groundwork for dairy export growth

Innovation deal marks next step in multi-faceted approach to raise U.S. dairy profile in the world’s largest dairy importer.

Arlington, Virginia, UNITED STATES

WUXI, CHINA, April 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ****Embargoed until 1 a.m. EST, Monday, April 2, 2018****

China’s Jiangnan University and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) have formed a new innovation partnership that helps pave the way for U.S. dairy export growth in China. Jiangnan University’s Vice President Xu Yan and USDEC President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Vilsack signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) formalizing the relationship on March 30 on Jiangnan University’s campus in Wuxi.

“The Jiangnan partnership is a concrete, game-changing agreement that will lead to fruitful new opportunities that mutually benefit both China and the United States,” Vilsack said. “China is a top-priority market for the U.S. dairy industry, and we are very excited to be working with one of the best food science schools in the nation.”

“We are very pleased to establish the U.S.-China Dairy Innovation Center at our university together with USDEC,” said Xu. “The center aims to facilitate research innovation and technical services for the dairy and food industries and also strengthen education cooperation and research collaboration in dairy science and technology between our two countries.”

USDEC expects the MOU will deliver three major benefits. It will:

  1. Encourage the development of innovative, China-friendly product formulations that incorporate U.S. dairy ingredients, particularly whey and milk proteins and skim milk powder.
  2. Enable U.S. dairy suppliers to be more engaged with and responsive to China’s food industry through access to in-market facilities and opportunities for jointly pursuing innovation projects that leverage U.S. dairy ingredient functionality, versatility and nutrition.
  3. Enrich students’ academic experiences in Jiangnan University’s dairy science and technology programs with practical hands-on R&D skills using U.S. dairy to jumpstart careers upon graduation.

“This MOU is further evidence of the U.S. industry’s desire to elevate its presence and demonstrate its commitment to meet the needs and desires of Chinese customers and consumers with sustainably produced U.S. dairy products,” said Vilsack.

The agreement follows a series of USDEC-led efforts aimed at building relationships in China and removing barriers to trade to level the playing field with competitors, including last year’s MOU on U.S. dairy plant registration and the unilateral reduction in Chinese cheese tariffs.

Said Vilsack, “They are all part of USDEC’s broader global marketing strategy to expand people, partnerships and promotions in key markets and drive growth toward The Next 5%.”

The Next 5% is the industry-wide effort launched in 2017 to increase annual U.S. dairy exports from the equivalent of about 15 percent of U.S. milk solids to 20 percent.

Following the MOU signing, Vilsack addressed 150 food science majors at Jiangnan University. His presentation, “The Importance of Climate Smart Agriculture to Meeting World Food Needs,” explored the need for collaboration and innovation in tackling agricultural sustainability as the world’s resources grow increasingly strained.

****Embargoed until 1 a.m. EST, Monday, April 2, 2018****

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The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Funded primarily by the dairy checkoff program through Dairy Management Inc., the mission of USDEC is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC supports socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound dairy food systems that promote the current and future health and well-being of consumers, communities, animals, employees, businesses and the planet. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and overseas in Mexico, South America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital status, military status, and arrest or conviction record.


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Jiangnan University Vice President Xu Yan (right) and U.S. Dairy Export Council President and CEO Tom Vilsack celebrate a March 30 memorandum of understanding to establish a new innovation partnership.

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