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Mexico, Canada Remain Among Top U.S. Dairy Trade Customers

February 12, 2020

Jim Dickrell

Even though the U.S. Mexico Canada trade agreement has yet to be implemented (it awaits Canada’s signature), both Mexico and Canada remain among the United States’ top three destinations for dairy exports.

Mexico retains its top spot, with sales exceeding  $1.5 billion in 2019, up 11% from 2018. Canada slipped to Number 3, but still took in $806 million worth of dairy products last year. And despite the dispute with the U.S., Canada took it did in 3% more dairy products than in 2018.

Southeast Asia surged to the Number 2 destination, up 22% over 2018. Southeast Asians countries took in $930 million worth of U.S. dairy products. And it should be noted that South Korea and Japan are not counted in this tally. South Korea took in another $368 million of dairy exports, up 14%, and Japan purchased $283 of dairy exports, up 5%.

(Note: If South Korea and Japan are added to Southeast Asia’s imports, the region would be roughly equal to the value of Mexico’s imports from the United States.)

As a region, South America surged to the Number 5 spot, up 34% in the value of U.S. dairy exports it purchased. “A doubling of sales to Colombia helped fuel the rise in exports to South America, but U.S. suppliers increased shipments to other major buyers in the region as well, including Chile, +14%, Peru, +28% and Brazil, +13,” reports Alan Levitt, vice president of communications and market analysis for the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

The one major disappointment is sales last year was to China, with U.S. sales there plummeting 25% to $375 million. “In 2019, we saw volume gains hit a speed bump due primarily to reduced Chinese purchasing, as retaliatory tariffs eroded U.S.

competitiveness in China and African Swine Fever decimated China’s pig herd, reducing whey demand,” says Levitt.



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