China’s Jiangnan University and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), Arlington, Va., formed a new innovation partnership that aims to help pave the way for U.S. dairy export growth in China. Jiangnan University’s Vice President Xu Yan and USDEC President and CEO Tom Vilsack signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) formalizing the relationship on March 30 on Jiangnan University’s campus in Wuxi, China, USDEC said.
“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,” Vilsack said. “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.”
USDEC said it expects the MOU to deliver three major benefits, including:
- Encouraging the development of innovative China-friendly product formulations that incorporate U.S. dairy ingredients, particularly whey and milk proteins and skim milk powder.
- Enabling 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.
- Enriching 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.
“We are very pleased to establish the U.S.-China Dairy Innovation Center at our university together with USDEC,” Xu said. “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.”
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, USDEC said.
“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%,’” Vilsack said.
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%.
Following the MOU signing, Vilsack addressed 150 food science majors at Jiangnan University. His presentation, “The Importance of Climate Smart Agriculture to Meeting World Food Needs,” explored the need for collaboration and innovation in tackling agricultural sustainability as the world’s resources grow increasingly strained, USDEC noted.