U.S. dairy product exports grew by 9 percent to reach $6.5 billion in 2020 despite significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing trade policy issues with Canada and China. While still below the record level in 2014, this was the fourth year in a row that the value of U.S. dairy product exports expanded, registering an average annual growth rate of 8 percent over this period.

Mexico, Canada, and China were the top three markets, accounting for about 45 percent of sales. Sales to Mexico were down 8 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic leading to slower economic growth and reduced consumer spending. Southeast Asia remains a critical region for growth, with the value of dairy shipments up an impressive 25 percent from 2019 to reach $2.7 billion. There were notable increases in exports of whey & whey products to China, and skimmed milk powder (SMP) to the Philippines and Indonesia.

More information from the 2020 U.S. Agricultural Export Yearbook

USDA's latest official data on U.S. and global trade, production, consumption and stocks, as well as analysis of developments affecting world trade in dairy, can be found in the Dairy: World Markets and Trade report.


Import licensing is one of the tools FAS uses to administer the tariff-rate quota (TRQ) system for U.S. imports of dairy products.

Data and Analysis

On June 16, 2021, China notified draft National Food Safety Standard of Cream, Butter and Anhydrous Milk Fat (GB19646-xxxx) to the WTO SPS Committee as G/SPS/N/CHN/1221.
Attaché Report (GAIN)

Mexico: Dairy and Products Semi-annual

In light of pandemic-related macroeconomic shocks during 2020, 2021 is showing slow, but steady growth for dairy product production and consumption in Mexico.
Attaché Report (GAIN)

China: China Notifies Cheese Standard

On February 22, 2021, the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China and the State Administration for Market Regulation issued the Standard GB 5420-2021 (the National Food Safety - Cheese).

News and Features

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative made a request to initiate a dispute settlement panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to challenge Canada’s allocation of dairy tariff-rate quotas.
Contact: AMS Public Affairs, PA@usda.gov, (202) 720-8998 WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2020 - Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed a outlining strengthened coordination...
Secretary Perdue: China Phase I Deal is a Bonanza for American Agriculture

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