SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): The United States Dairy Export Council (USDEC) virtually launched its new centre at Robertson Quay on Wednesday (Oct 21).
It will serve as the regional hub for US dairy exports, further solidifying Singapore as the US dairy industry's base in the area.
The centre is funded by US dairy farmers and processors and will be an "innovation and education hub", with a demonstration kitchen, a sensory evaluation lab, and meeting and training rooms.
Its aim is to become a platform for discovering South-east Asian uses for US dairy products.
Experimental combinations of US dairy ingredients and local products such as gula melaka, or palm sugar, have been trialled.
The USDEC has been working on a prototype called "High Protein Gula Melaka Lassi-tte", which is a protein-rich drink made by combining US produced whey protein with yogurt, low-fat milk and gula melaka.
In a statement on Wednesday, USDEC said that the centre was "envisioned as a gateway for collaboration between the US dairy community and South-east Asia's food and beverage stakeholders, the culinary sector, health professionals and other partners".
South-east Asia is on pace to become the top combined market for US dairy exports by volume this year, overtaking Mexico, with a total export value of $1.27 billion in 2019.
US dairy exports to the region grew by US$250 million (S$338 million) from 2017 to 2019.
USDEC's resident and chief executive officer, Mr Tom Vilsack, said: "(The USCDE) represents a long-term commitment by the US dairy industry to the region and exports, and recognition of the importance of South-east Asia as an innovation hub."
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen ling was the guest of honour at the virtual opening of the centre.
She emphasised the strength of the continued trade relations between the two countries.
"Singapore aims to continue being a critical node for American businesses and organisations seeking to tap on growth opportunities in the region," she said.
The Philippines is the biggest regional importer of US dairy products, followed by Indonesia and Vietnam. Last year, Singapore imported about 37,000 metric tonnes and accounted for 9 per cent of total regional imports.
The USDEC is a non-profit, independent membership organisation that represents the global trade interests of US dairy producers, processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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