China's Jiangnan University and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), Arlington, Va., formed a new innovation partnership that helps pave the way for U.S. dairy export growth in China.

"The Jiangnan partnership is a concrete, game-changing agreement that will lead to fruitful new opportunities that mutually benefit both China and the United States," says Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of USDEC. "China is a top-priority market for the U.S. dairy industry, and we are very excited to be working with one of the best food science schools in the nation."

"We are very pleased to establish the U.S.-China Dairy Innovation Center at our university together with USDEC," adds Xu Yan, vice president of Jiangnan University. "The center aims to facilitate research innovation and technical services for the dairy and food industries and also strengthen education cooperation and research collaboration in dairy science and technology between our two countries." 

USDEC expects the partnership will deliver three major benefits, including:

  1. Encourage the development of innovative, China-friendly product formulations that incorporate U.S. dairy ingredients, particularly whey and milk proteins and skim milk powder.
  2. Enable U.S. dairy suppliers to be more engaged with and responsive to China's food industry through access to in-market facilities and opportunities for jointly pursuing innovation projects that leverage U.S. dairy ingredient functionality, versatility and nutrition.
  3. Enrich students' academic experiences in Jiangnan University's dairy science and technology programs with practical hands-on R&D skills using U.S. dairy to jumpstart careers upon graduation.

"This MOU is further evidence of the U.S. industry's desire to elevate its presence and demonstrate its commitment to meet the needs and desires of Chinese customers and consumers with sustainably produced U.S. dairy products," says Vilsack.

The agreement follows a series of USDEC-led efforts aimed at building relationships in China and removing barriers to trade to level the playing field with competitors, including last year's MOU on U.S. dairy plant registration and the unilateral reduction in Chinese cheese tariffs.

"They are all part of USDEC's broader global marketing strategy to expand people, partnerships and promotions in key markets and drive growth toward The Next 5%," says Vilsack.

The Next 5% is the industry-wide effort launched in 2017 to increase annual U.S. dairy exports from the equivalent of about 15% of U.S. milk solids to 20%.