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Asia Pacific: US dairy exports to Southeast Asia reaches historical high

Dairy exports from the US to Southeast Asia reached a historical high in 2018 – 441,000 mt, an increase of 28% over the previous year, according to US Census Bureau trade data released in March 2019.

This export volume growth to Southeast Asia comes off a record year in worldwide dairy exports from the US, shipping 9% more over 2017.

The year-round dairy production from all 50 US states, expansion capabilities to meet increasing demand and highly regulated, and trusted food system means the country will continue to increasingly provide high quality dairy nutrition throughout the globe, including Southeast Asia.

“2018 was a milestone year for the US dairy industry in Southeast Asia, as we significantly ramped up multifaceted programs supporting customer business and innovation success with US Dairy,” said Vikki-Nicholson West, senior VP, Southeast Asia business unit, U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

In 2018, Southeast Asia was the second largest export destination for US dairy exports, coming in after Mexico, but ahead of Canada and China in terms of both metric tonnage and export value.

US dairy exports to the region grew by nearly 100,000 mt over 2017 due to strong shipments of whey ingredients, milk powder and cheese, which all reached new all-time records.

In contrast, exports to China started off strong but slowed mid-year following strong headwinds amidst retaliatory tariffs.

US cheese shipments formed one of the brightest spots for exporters in 2018, increasing by 2% to a total of 348,591 mt exported globally, effectively making the US the world’s largest single-country cheese exporter.

Cheese exports to Southeast Asia, although still small compared to North Asian countries, followed a similar uptrend, posting 19,000 mt in exports to the region – a 15% increase over 2017.

USDEC is also focused on establishing and strengthening partnerships to drive innovation in the region.

These activities showcase how the US’ sustainably-produced milk supply yields a high-quality lineup of dairy protein, milk powder, specialty ingredients and cheeses which provides advantageous solutions for the region’s product developers and chefs.

One flagship program features US Dairy as the Official Dairy Partner for the World Gourmet Summit (WGS) for the second consecutive year in 2019.

The WGS partnership aims to inspire chefs in the region to innovate new, Southeast Asia-friendly food creations leveraging the versatility and variety of award-winning US cheeses.

“Our participation and collaboration with industry-level events like the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore goes beyond just a showcase of the many applications of US dairy products,” said Ghazalay.

“It also acts as a testbed for innovation around U.S. dairy products, challenging the industry’s best in stretching the limits of their imagination and professional ability to discover new applications for our exported products.”

“At the end of the day, we enable the discovery of new, culturally-relevant applications of our cheeses, while celebrating the uniqueness and versatility of what our dairy products offer – a win-win situation for consumers and businesses in the region.”