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USDEC, NMPF Support Vice President’s Call for Renewed Trade Discussions with India

July 25, 2013

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U.S. dairy products have been locked out of the Indian market.

Source: U.S. Dairy Export Council

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) applauded U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks during a speech yesterday in India calling for expanded trade between India and the United States.

The vice president also pointed to the need to negotiate and work through barriers to market access, among other trade priorities.

"For far too long, a wide range of U.S. dairy products have been effectively locked out of the Indian market without sound scientific justification," said Tom Suber, president of USDEC. "U.S. dairy products are sold in over 100 markets around the world and are well known for their high level of food safety. We look forward to renewed discussions with India on how to remove inappropriate barriers to market access for safe products."

Jim Mulhern, chief operating officer of NMPF, agreed and adds, "As we focus on tearing down unwarranted trade barriers so that our industry can continue to grow, it is equally important to ensure that we also maintain a strong focus on food safety and product integrity. U.S. dairy products have an excellent track record in this area while India’s own government has found serious problems with a majority of its dairy products."

In early 2012, NMPF called the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s attention to a study conducted by the Indian Food Safety and Standards Authority that found that 68% of milk samples analyzed did not meet Indian standards.

"Given these alarming findings, we believed it was important for FDA to determine if adulterated dairy products in India were entering the U.S. market," Mulhern stated. "We are gratified that FDA agreed that concern is warranted and this summer put in place an import alert on certain dairy products from India."

The FDA import alert calls for the detention of specified dairy products from certain Indian exporters and requires further documentation to ensure that the products are complying with U.S. regulations designed to protect food safety.

"U.S. dairy exporters believe that trade between the United States and India can be mutually beneficial, particularly as India struggles to consistently meet its growing domestic dairy demand," adds Suber. "As the U.S. and India reengage in talks aimed at improving bilateral trade, we must ensure that a focus on the importance of safe and accurately labeled food remains at the core of discussions on agricultural trade."

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