An American dairy producers' group has dropped its longstanding opposition to New Zealand dairy exports being included in the nine-country trade talks known as the TransPacific Partnership, or TPP.
The backdown by the United States Dairy Export Council comes as New Zealand negotiators prepare to take on the US over dairy access in the talks.
Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand executive director Simon Tucker says American producers are finally facing up to the fact that shutting New Zealand out of their markets could jeopardise their own prospects in other TPP markets.
Former US trade negotiator Jeffrey Schott says the importance of the trade talks to the US means some opening up of its domestic milk market is inevitable.
But he says New Zealand here should not expect the US to completely eliminate protections for its own producers.