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Dairy stakeholders praise news of progress on USMCA

Dec. 13, 2019

WASHINGTON — The governments of the United States, Mexico and Canada this week announced that a final trade deal has been reached on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will request the Trump administration transmit the implementing language for USMCA to the House of Representatives. This move will clear the way for the deal to come to Congress for a vote sometime in the next 60 days, stakeholders say.

Dairy industry organizations praised the development this week.

“Washington has worked hard to make USMCA an even better deal for America’s dairy farmers and exporters,” Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), said in a joint news release with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “Now we are counting on Congress to move expeditiously to pass USMCA and usher in its significant improvements to trade rules.”

NMPF and USDEC note USMCA makes important changes to Canada’s trade-distorting policies, reforms Canada’s controversial dairy pricing system and provides exclusive access to the Canadian market for U.S. farmers and manufacturers.
The trade deal also strengthens the U.S. dairy industry’s relationship with Mexico and establishes new protections for common cheese names, using a combination of approaches to protect the continued use of a number of generic cheese terms, such as parmesan and feta.

Important advancements made during negotiations between lawmakers and the White House included an enhanced Dispute Settlement process for enforcing the agreement’s measures, the groups say. This stronger enforcement mechanism gives the dairy industry greater assurance that USMCA’s gains will be fully realized.

“USMCA will expand trade opportunities with our most valuable partners and secure immediate benefits for our rural communities, adding an estimated $548 million to dairy farm revenues in its first six years after implementation,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, NMPF. “Newly announced improvements to USMCA will also ensure that if our trading partners flout their dairy obligations under the trade deal, the U.S. has the tools it needs to vigorously enforce our rights. An already good deal for U.S. dairy farmers is even better now, thanks to these changes.”

Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), lauded the announcement as “a great day for U.S. dairy and all of American agriculture.”

“With a smooth path ahead for the USMCA agreement, America’s dairy industry anticipates a bright future and continued growth through exports to Canada and Mexico. Once ratified, the new USMCA deal also delivers peace of mind for our businesses, removing the handcuffs of uncertainty that have constrained business decisions over the past two years as the deal was negotiated. Make no mistake about it, for the U.S. dairy industry — farmers, processors and suppliers — the USMCA deal is a major win that levels the playing field with our largest trading partners,” Dykes says.

John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, says export growth is crucial to the stability and strength of the U.S. dairy industry, and Mexico and Canada are essential trade partners in future endeavors.

“We applaud the Trump administration and House Democrats for moving with urgency to iron out the final details of USMCA and urge them to quickly advance ratifying legislation so the agreement can take effect as soon as possible,” Umhoefer says.

Jeff Lyon, general manager of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, says the agreement sends a positive message to the rest of the world by demonstrating that the United States can sign and pass a trade agreement that reflects modern trade rules.

“While there are benefits between the U.S. and Canada in this agreement, its passage will provide security with our long-time trading partner, Mexico,” Lyon says. “Hopefully the House and the Senate will pass the USMCA before Christmas. For dairy farmers, that would be the best gift going into 2020.”

News reports, however, say that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has indicated progress on the agreement in the Senate may be stalled until 2020.

In remarks Wednesday on the Senate floor, McConnell said “Democrats have stalled this agreement for so long that it is now impossible for the USMCA to become law in 2019 —especially given all the other urgent things they’ve stalled right alongside it.”

McConnell says if House Democrats forward articles of impeachment next week, a Senate trial will be the first item of business in January and likely will further delay USMCA.

News reports say the Senate was supposed to adjourn for the year today, but likely will be in town through Dec. 20 because of a government funding deadline.


Cheese companies seek balance, support when creating new labels

Dec. 13, 2019

By Trina La Susa

MADISON, Wis. — When cheese companies decide to create new product labels, they often face a complex process that requires support from designers, marketing agencies, label printing companies and state or national organizations.

According to Adam Brock, head of Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Compliance at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW), there are two general components that cheese manufacturers take into consideration when developing a new product label: marketing and regulations. Each new label is tasked with executing a design that appeals to consumers and differentiates the product in the marketplace, while also adhering to state and federal regulations.

In May 2016, the FDA published final rules on the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices. Changes include increasing the type size for calories, servings per container and the serving size declaration. Additionally, the number of calories and serving size declaration are required to be bolded to highlight this information. FDA recently granted an extension for compliance with the new rules. Manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales now must switch to the new label by July 1, 2020; and manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have until Jan. 1, 2021 to comply, as of press time.

Henning’s Wisconsin Cheese, a specialty cheese manufacturer based in Kiel, Wisconsin, began refreshing its label designs in 2019 in order to meet new FDA nutritional labeling requirements and update the DFW logo featured on all its labels.
Rebekah Henschel, co-owner of Henning’s Cheese, says taking on the labeling project ended up being more time consuming than she could have imagined since the company crafts between 35-40 varieties or flavors of artisan cheese in both prepackaged and bulk sizes. Because of the different sizes, the company needs 3-4 labels per variety.

“Initially, we come up with a design for each flavor which could take days or weeks to nail down,” Henschel says. “Then we would tweak the design to work with each size label. Proofing became the next challenge. Making sure that every label had the correct design, spelling, punctuation, ingredients, nutritional information, logos, etc., became quite the task.”

The cheese labeling process differs depending on the company. Some larger cheese manufacturers may have a team working on product labels. Smaller cheese manufacturers, like Henning’s Cheese, may not even have one full-time person to oversee this process and instead need to add it on top of the other tasks that employees currently do because of budget constraints.

“One issue is that the smaller cheesemakers and farmstead operations don’t have the resources available to ensure they are meeting labeling requirements,” Brock says. “When companies are interested in making a claim adhering to the standards, things get even more complex. There have been some claims on packaging that resulted in regulatory and legal action. From my perspective, the biggest issue is finding a balance between meeting regulatory requirements, differentiating your product and providing transparency for the consumer.”

Henning’s Cheese is currently working with a one-man designer who has knowledge of labeling laws. The company also has partnered with DFW to provide insight into labeling claims and education about the labeling process.

“We work with small cheesemakers in a variety of ways, but in terms of labeling, we tend to focus on two areas: education and assisting with some portions of the label review process,” Brock says. “We partner with both state and national organizations to provide educational short courses to ensure that industry is kept up-to-date on labeling regulations. We can also provide some assistance with questions around labeling and claims.”

For printing the new labels, smaller cheese businesses have to balance quality and price. A high-quality label that will pop on the retail shelf and that holds up to the dairy case environment is a necessity, Henschel says. On the other hand, finding a price that fits within the company budget is another factor to consider.

Typically a cheese company has its logo or brand ready to print after working with a marketing or ad agency to come up with brands or label design revisions. A majority of printers are not marketing agencies and it is usually in cheese companies’ best interest to pay a professional to bring their vision to life, says Samantha Forster, sales representative in the Wisconsin Cheese market, Aladdin Label, a division of Repacorp Inc.

Aladdin, a label printer, has three manufacturing locations in Wisconsin, Ohio and Arizona. Forster says each location’s prep department brings label art in, reviews it and processes a proof for approval prior to printing or alerts the customer to spelling errors or issues with font size on weights, nutritional panels or other specifications.

“If Aladdin’s customer is missing some info or does not meet regulations, we bring that to the customer’s attention,” Forster says. “It is up to the cheesemaker to get us the correct info, and we will make sure when updating nutritional panels that all fonts are within the specifications. If the label is not big enough for updating nutritional info, then it is up to the customer to accept responsibility if they want to leave as is, or they will need to make the label bigger or go to two labels (front and back) to be compliant.”

Forster says labeling and printing companies like Aladdin help differentiate which films work best for certain types of cheese. It also makes recommendations depending on other factors, such as the volume of cheeses manufactured and whether the cheesemaker works with a specific co-packer.

“Regulations on label specifications have a huge impact on design,” Henschel adds. “As a small artisan cheese manufacturer that has been in business for over 100 years and sources milk from small local family dairy farmers, we have a story to tell. New customers may not know about our story, so our biggest challenge is how we convey our message in a small space after everything else meets legalistic specifications. We understand how valuable label real estate is and we need to make wise choices on how we use that.”

On the regulatory side, DFW provides guidance to Wisconsin companies during the labeling process and partners with cheesemakers to provide training about the process. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection also will spot-check labels during inspections and respond to label complaints, but does not approve cheese labels at the state level.

There are several national trade organizations, including International Dairy Foods Association and the American Cheese Society, that have resources available for small cheesemakers and farmstead operations online.

Labeling regulations, including aspects such as font size and ingredient statements, are found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 101. FDA is responsible for enforcing labeling regulations on food involved in interstate commerce. Most state regulations refer to these federal regulations in addition to agricultural codes.

Going forward, Brock says investing in education for the cheese labeling process and seeking organizations that can help with label development are valuable to the process.

“It’s also important to ensure that you can support the claims on your packaging — false claims can impact your brand and your overall business,” he says.


Cheese, butter price forecast lower in latest USDA outlook

Dec. 13, 2019

WASHINGTON — In its latest “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” report released this week, USDA left its milk production forecasts for 2019 and 2020 unchanged from the previous month, at 218.6 billion and 222.4 billion pounds, respectively.

In its report, USDA lowered its 2019 and 2020 fat-basis import forecasts largely on lower expected imports of butterfat products. The fat-basis export forecast for 2019 is unchanged, but the 2020 forecast is raised on higher exports of butterfat products.

Skim-solids basis import forecasts for 2019 and 2020 are unchanged, but the skim-solids basis export forecasts are raised on larger shipments of nonfat dry milk (NDM)/skim milk powder, USDA says.

Cheese and butter price forecasts for 2019 are lowered from last month to $1.760 and $2.240 per pound, respectively. The 2020 cheese price forecast is raised to $1.865, but the 2020 butter forecast is lowered to $2.020 on continued demand softness, USDA says.

The whey price forecast for 2019 is unchanged, while the NDM price forecast is raised. In 2020, NDM and whey prices are raised, supported by higher expected export demand, USDA says. The 2020 whey price is forecast at 0.345 per pound, while the NDM price is forecast at $1.230.

The 2019 Class III price forecast is lowered on the weaker cheese price. USDA now forecasts the Class III price to average $16.95 per hundredweight in 2019. The Class IV price is unchanged at $16.30 as the lower butter price is offset by a higher NDM price.

The 2020 price forecasts for Class III and Class IV are raised on gains in most product prices, with the exception of butter. USDA forecasts the 2020 Class III price at $17.65 and the Class IV price at $16.95.

The 2019 all-milk price forecast is unchanged at $18.60, but USDA raised the 2020 all-milk price to $19.40.


Yancey’s Fancy launches its new cheese spread line with flavorful trio
Exact weight packages, updated labels also are rolling out

MILWAUKEE — In a state where cheese reigns supreme, Black Creek, Saputo Cheese USA Inc.’s brand of cheddar and cheddar blends, continues to garner awards and investment for new marketing initiatives.

The Black Creek brand is positioned as a line of premium, classic Wisconsin-made cheddar cheese available in a variety of ages and blends at a competitive price. Black Creek cheese is perfect for everything from entertaining to day-to-day snacking, Saputo Cheese USA Inc.’s marketing executives say.

Key products include varieties of white and yellow aged cheddars, ranging in age from nine months to three years. The brand’s most recent award was a third-place finish in the competitive Aged Cheddar category at this year’s World Dairy Expo (one of six awards Saputo Cheese USA Inc. won at the competition).

The brand also carries specialty blends of cheddar cheese in its Artisan Series, which includes Cheddar Parmesan, Double Smoked Cheddar and Cheddar Gruyere.

The Black Creek brand dates back to 2005, when cheddar made by Alto Dairy Cooperative received the moniker (Saputo Cheese USA Inc. purchased Alto in 2008). However, the brand’s cheese has been made in the same facility in the heart of Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley since the early 1900s.

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U.S. threatens tariffs on French goods, including some cheese

Dec. 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is threatening tariffs on $2.4 billion worth of French goods, including cheese, champagne, make-up and handbags. The planned tariffs come in response to a new French digital services tax that would affect companies including Google, Amazon and Facebook.

The proposed list of goods covers more than 20 cheese tariff subheadings, notes the Cheese Importers Association of America (CIAA). No duty rate has been proposed at this time, but the notice mentions duties of up to 100% on products from France.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) this week announced it has completed the first segment of an investigation under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and concluded that France’s Digital Services Tax (DST) discriminates against U.S. companies, is inconsistent with prevailing principles of international tax policy and is unusually burdensome for affected U.S. companies.

Specifically, USTR says its investigation found that the French DST discriminates against U.S. digital companies. In addition, the French DST is inconsistent with prevailing tax principles on account of its retroactivity, its application to revenue rather than income, its extraterritorial application and its purpose of penalizing particular U.S. technology companies, USTR says.

A report outlining the findings of the investigation is available at

“USTR’s decision today sends a clear signal that the United States will take action against digital tax regimes that discriminate or otherwise impose undue burdens on U.S. companies,” says U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “Indeed, USTR is exploring whether to open Section 301 investigations into the digital services taxes of Austria, Italy and Turkey. USTR is focused on countering the growing protectionism of EU member states, which unfairly targets U.S. companies, whether through digital services taxes or other efforts that target leading U.S. digital services companies.”

USTR also will be publishing a Federal Register notice explaining that, for the reasons set forth in the report, the French DST is “unreasonable, discriminatory and burdens U.S. commerce.”

The notice solicits comments from the public on USTR’s proposed action, which includes additional duties of up to 100% on certain French products, including cheese. The notice also seeks comment on the option of imposing fees or restrictions on French services. The list of French products subject to potential duties includes 63 tariff subheadings with an approximate trade value of $2.4 billion. The value of any U.S. action through either duties or fees may take into account the level of harm to the U.S. economy resulting from the DST. The list of affected products is available at’s_Digital_Services_Tax.pdf.

USTR invites public comment on these issues. To be assured of consideration, comments on the proposed action must be submitted by Jan. 6, 2020. Additionally, the Section 301 committee will hold a public hearing beginning Jan. 7, 2020, regarding proposed action to be taken in this investigation. The hearing will take place at the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436.

Post-hearing rebuttal comments by Jan. 14, 2020, and USTR says it expects to proceed expeditiously thereafter.

CIAA says it intends to submit comments in response to this notice and is urging its members to provide their assessment of the impact of these tariffs to the association in order to help CIAA provide context to USTR. CIAA also encourages its members to submit comments and testify at the hearing individually if they will be impacted by these tariffs.

News reports say France and the EU have indicated they are ready to retaliate if the tariffs go into effect. The United States already has imposed 25% duties on French wine and cheese as part of its World Trade Organization-sanctioned response to EU aircraft subsidies.


U.S. cheese production down 2.1% in October over year ago

Dec. 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — Total U.S. cheese production, excluding cottage cheese, was 1.13 billion pounds in October, 2.1% below October 2018’s 1.15 billion pounds, according to data released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). (All figures are rounded. Please see CMN’s Dairy Production chart.) October cheese production was 4.6% above September 2019’s 1.08 billion pounds; when adjusted for the length of the months, October cheese production was up 1.2% from September on an average daily basis.

Italian-type cheese production totaled 482.2 million pounds, 0.3% below October 2018. Production of Mozzarella, the largest component of Italian-type cheese production, was up 0.4% from the previous year to 382.9 million pounds.

Total American-type cheese production totaled 442.6 million pounds, 3.2% below October 2018. Production of Cheddar, the largest component of American-type production, was down 4.2% from September 2018 to 309.6 million pounds.

Wisconsin led the nation’s cheese production with 285.4 million pounds produced in September, down 7.5% from the state’s production a year earlier. California followed with 215.6 million pounds, up less than 0.1% from its production a year earlier.

Total U.S. butter production was 157.0 million pounds, according to NASS, 5.4% above October 2018’s 148.9 million pounds. NASS reports October butter production was 13.8% above September 2019’s 137.9 million pounds; when adjusted for the length of the months, October butter production was up 10.2% from September on an average daily basis.

California led the nation’s butter production with 48.8 million pounds in October, up 5.9% from its production a year earlier.

Total U.S. production of nonfat dry milk (NDM) suitable for human consumption was up 11.1% in the October-to-October comparison, climbing to 135.1 million pounds. California led U.S. production with 48.1 million pounds, up 7.1% from its NDM production a year earlier.


NMPF announces settlement has been reached in CWT suit

Dec. 6, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) this week announced it has reached a settlement agreement to end a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois concerning a herd retirement program that ended in 2010 and was administered through NMPF’s Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) initiative.

The plaintiffs in First Impressions Salon Inc. vs. National Milk Producers Federation et al have agreed to a settlement of $220 million from defendant NMPF in exchange for a release from all claims. Based on antitrust rules that mandate a tripling of any damages, that amount is less than 6% of the damages sought by plaintiffs, NMPF says. The settlement amount will be paid through existing CWT mechanisms, ensuring no disruption to other business operations, NMPF adds.

Neither NMPF nor any of its member cooperatives admit any wrongdoing as a result of this settlement. NMPF is the sole defendant to be a party to the settlement, but the settlement extinguishes claims against all the defendants.

“There is no way to sugarcoat a settlement of this size, especially given that the herd retirement program was a well-publicized effort designed to serve dairy producers in difficult times and was praised by two secretaries of agriculture as well as leading members of Congress,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, NMPF. “Given the potential damages and the uncertainties surrounding any jury trial, resolving this case eliminates the possibility of a truly crippling outcome. Lifting this cloud will aid us in our work advancing the well-being of U.S. dairy producers, which includes the current robust CWT export assistance program.”

The plaintiffs’ litigation sought damages relating to the herd retirement program operated by CWT. The program offered dairy farmers financial incentives to sell off their milking herds for beef. It operated between 2003 to 2010 and was openly lauded by USDA secretaries and congressional agriculture committee chairmen from both parties at the time as an important, appropriate way to help struggling dairy farmers, NMPF says.

NMPF’s decision to enter into this settlement recognized the uncertainties inherent in any jury trial, the large damages sought by the plaintiffs and the fact that the export assistance program is unaffected by the settlement, the organization notes. In 2018, CWT assistance aided 57% of American-type cheese exports, 44% of butter exports, and 39% of whole milk powder shipments, helping U.S. dairy producers expand trade relationships in a challenging world trade environment, NMPF adds.


USDA increases forecast for exports in ag trade outlook

Nov. 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2020 are projected at $139.0 billion, up $2.0 billion from the August forecast, driven by higher dairy, soybean and pork export forecasts, says USDA’s Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service in its latest quarterly “Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade” released this week. Report forecasts are based on policies in effect at the time of the Nov. 8 release of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, USDA says.

The report says dairy, livestock and poultry exports are forecast up $500 million from August to $31.9 billion as stronger demand for dairy, pork, and hides and skins more than offsets declines for beef and poultry products. Dairy product exports are raised $300 million to $5.8 billion as volumes and prices for nonfat dry milk powder and other skim milk products are expected to strengthen, USDA says. The beef export forecast is reduced $200 million, reflecting lower unit values.

The forecast for per capita world gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2019 is unchanged from the prior forecast, at an annual rate of 1.5%. However, the forecast for 2020 has been revised downward to 1.5% from 1.6% in the August forecast. Forecasts for the United States are unchanged from the August forecast, at 1.6% for 2019 and 1.3% for 2020. Despite positive consumer sentiment, low unemployment rates and strong year-over-year wage gains, growth has been moderated by continuing uncertainty in U.S.-China trade, Brexit and slowing trade and investment globally, USDA notes.

As the U.S.-Mexico- Canada Agreement (USMCA) awaits ratification in Canada and the United States, Canada and Mexico face modest to unfavorable per capita growth prospects in the near term, the report notes. The forecast for per capita growth in Canada is lowered to 0.1% for 2019 (from 0.5% in August) and remains at 0.4% in 2020. Per capita GDP growth in Mexico is forecast at -0.8% in 2019 and to be flat in 2020, both below forecasts in August. Timely ratification of the USMCA is expected to further increase the future growth of both Canada and Mexico, while reducing the risk of recession, USDA says.

Meanwhile, the forecast for agricultural imports for fiscal 2020 of $132.0 billion is $3.0 billion higher than the August forecast, and $1.0 billion more than agricultural imports for fiscal 2019, the report notes. This increase in imports relative to the August forecast is mostly due to an expected increase in fresh fruits and grain products imports that offsets the decrease in imports of dairy products, livestock and rubber.

The import forecast for dairy, livestock and poultry products for fiscal 2020 decreases by $100 million from the August forecast to $17.7 billion, according to the report. This forecast represents a $100 million decrease from reported imports of dairy, livestock and poultry products for fiscal 2019.

The cheese import forecast this month for fiscal 2020 also is lowered by $100 million from August to $1.3 billion, the report says. Reported imports of cheese for fiscal 2019 were $1.348 billion.

To view the report, visit


GMA survey: U.S. should lead in packaging waste reduction

Nov. 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — New research recently released by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) shows that nearly eight-in-10 (77%) Americans believe the federal government needs to take a leading role in tackling packaging waste, similar to the leadership role it played in the Apollo space project.

GMA says a majority (86%) of Americans agree that the world is facing a plastic and packaging crisis — with 87% saying that single-use plastic and packaging is a problem and 88% expressing concern about the environment at large. Even compared against major issues the country is facing, Americans consider plastic and packaging waste equal to or more critical than a host of other key societal issues, including: reversing climate change (52%); fixing crumbling infrastructure (45%); ensuring access to health care (40%); reducing the deficit (38%); and lowering taxes (36%), the GMA survey found.

“We must stop passing the torch among stakeholders to fix the recycling system — we need strong, uniform guidelines to bring about substantive change,” says GMA President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “The consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is making huge strides in improving the recyclability of its products. Our industry will do more and can do more with a functional system, but our best efforts cannot be enough on their own.”

The current recycling system in the United States consists of more than 9,800 individual programs, each with its own myriad rules and policies. Even though 96% of respondents with access to curbside recycling report that they participate, most people have no idea that recycling is different across thousands of cities and counties, GMA says, noting just under one-third (32%) were correct that rules vary by city or county; others assumed recycling rules were set at the state (31%) or national (20%) level.

Consequently, most Americans (77%) view recycling as a public service, not a business. Eighty-three percent believe that tackling plastic and packaging waste is an opportunity for the federal government to lead, GMA says.

In addition, 73% of Americans do not feel the government is doing enough now, GMA adds. While Americans agree that the federal government is best positioned to lead on recycling, all stakeholders must be at the table to find a solution, according to the survey.

The survey found creating uniform standards is the first step in creating behavior change — a resounding 93% of Americans believe national standards will alleviate confusion and 95% would change how they recycle if they found out they were doing something incorrectly, GMA says.

“The CPG industry, packaging material manufacturers, waste haulers, recycling processors and state and local governments must collaborate with federal policymakers to find a workable solution for our country and our planet,” says Meghan Stasz, GMA vice president of packaging and sustainability. “Without clear guidelines to empower consumers with the right information, recycling will continue to erode.”

To view the survey, visit


China, U.S. trade officials keep talks open on ongoing issues

Nov. 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — A statement from China’s Commerce Ministry released this week indicates Chinese and U.S. trade officials are in communication to try to reach consensus on outstanding issues in the first phase of negotiations in the ongoing trade war.

Liu He, China’s top negotiator on trade, spoke with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday morning, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in an online statement.

“The two sides discussed how to resolve each other’s core concerns, reached consensus on how to resolve related issues, and agreed to maintain communication on the remaining issues in the first phase of agreement negotiations,” the statement says.

The two countries had been set to meet this month to discuss a deal on tariffs at the APEC summit in Chile before it was canceled due to concern over protests in several Chilean cities.

Gao Feng, spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce, says the economic and trade teams from both China and the United States have maintained close communication.

“If the two parties reach the first phase agreement, they should cancel the tariffs according to the content of the agreement and the ratio,” he says. “China’s position on tariff issues is consistent and clear. The trade war starts with the addition of tariffs and should also be terminated by the elimination of tariffs.” (See “United States, China talk tariff rollback amid reports of ‘constructive’ discussions” in the Nov. 8, 2019, issue of Cheese Market News.)


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Today's Cheese Spot Trading
December 13, 2019

Barrels: $1.6950 (-6 1/2)
Blocks: $1.7975 (-6)

Click here for more market activity
Cheese Production
U.S. Total Oct.
1.130 bil. lbs.

Milk Production
U.S. Total Oct.
17.299 bil. lbs.

Guest Columnist

Dairy’s future is CDR innovation

John Umhoefer, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

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