World trade in dairy products has grown in recent decades at rates that generally exceed demand growth in developed countries, which produce the majority of the world’s dairy products. Data from the Global Trade Information Services (GTIS) online Global Trade Atlas trade data system and the United Nations Commodity Trade (UNcomtrade) Statistics Database show that total world dairy exports grew by 4.6% per year, on a milk equivalent basis, during 2010–2014 while total domestic consumption of dairy products in the United States grew by 0.9% per year during the same period, measured on the same basis (USDA/Economic Research Service 2016). The US dairy industry has participated significantly in this growth, increasing its exports from an estimated 5.3%of domestic milk solids production in 2002 to 15.5 % in 2013 and 15.3 % in 2014 (U.S. Dairy Export Council 2016). This article focuses on the factors contributing to this growth and discusses the current world dairy market situation and challenges the US dairy industry faces in an increasingly competitive export market environment going forward. It is intended to suggest some researchable questions that dairy economists and analysts might usefully examine to assist the industry’s further progress in supplying the world’s growing import demand for dairy products.


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