Relocation of Codex Within USDA Will Benefit U.S. Dairy Exporters
Luke Waring, USDEC
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Dairy Export Council said Friday that a U.S. Department of Agriculture announcement to relocate the U.S. Codex Office will benefit U.S. dairy exporters and ultimately increase dairy trade opportunities.
"The role of Codex is fundamentally important to international trade," said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC and a former U.S. Agriculture Secretary. "Relocating the U.S. Codex Office raises the prominence of Codex and should empower the office to make food standards science-based, maintain fair trade practices and equitably resolve trade disputes concerning food safety and food protection."
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made the announcement on Thursday, saying a realignment of offices, including Codex, within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will improve customer service and efficiency.
The U.S. Codex Office will be part of a newly created area directed by an undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. The moves are part of a broader reorganization announced earlier this year by Perdue to spur innovation and consolidation by putting offices into more logical organizational reporting structures.
Codex develops and maintains international standards, guidelines and practices relating to food production and food safety, among other things. Oversight of agricultural exports by the U.S. government gives global dairy customers confidence in the safety of products and ingredients they buy from U.S. dairy suppliers.
"Making Codex more effective will improve trade opportunities in a competitive global dairy landscape where speed is important and food safety is paramount," said Vilsack.
In 2016, U.S. dairy exports totaled nearly $5 billion. Vilsack is positioning the industry for accelerated growth in the coming years.
"Our goal is to grow our exports from about 15 percent of total U.S. milk production to 20 percent by 2021," said Vilsack. "USDA will play an important role. We appreciate and support Secretary Perdue's efforts."
The U.S. Dairy Export Council is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Its mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and overseas in Mexico, South America, Asia, Middle East and Europe. The U.S. Dairy Export Council prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital status, military status, and arrest or conviction record. www.usdec.org.