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

Attaché Report (GAIN)

South Korea: Dairy and Products Annual

Domestic milk production is forecast to stay steady at just over 2 million tons in 2022. 2021 milk production is projected to drop to 2.03 million tons after reaching 2.88 million tons in 2020.
Attaché Report (GAIN)

New Zealand: Dairy and Products Annual

Following an exceptional milk production year in 2021 (and especially the first half of the year), FAS/Wellington is forecasting milk production to fall slightly in 2022.
The Ministry of Agriculture issued Regulation Number 15 Year 2021 (15/2021) that includes provisions regarding the import of food products of animal origin.

News and Features

The USDA quarterly trade forecast released August 26 projects FY 2021 and 2022 U.S. farm exports at record levels.
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...

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