After three years of negations between U.S. and Chinese regulators, the two countries have successfully approved a new dairy certificate that will keep U.S. dairy products flowing in the world’s largest dairy importer.

“U.S. dairy exports to China are on pace to clear $400 million in 2012,” Tom Suber, president, U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), said in a new release. “With the certificate question settled, we expect U.S. dairy export value to China could more than double by 2017,” he says. “Some or all of those sales could have been lost had it gone unresolved.”

According to a report by China Daily, a new certificate was required after China implemented changes to its food safety rules in 2010. However, while negotiations were under way, China continued to keep its market open U.S. dairy exports.

"China has been a good trading partner for dairy in recent years," said Hakim Fobia, a spokesman for the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. "Although there never was a market closure, some Chinese buyers were hesitant to source from U.S. suppliers while the risk of market closure during negotiations was possible."

Ed Jesse, emeritus professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, points out that Chinese consumption of dairy products will continue to grow.

"As the Chinese population increases adoption of dairy products in their diet, they will want even more," he said.

Read more from China Daily here.