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USDA Results: Trade

Helping U.S. Exporters Gain Access to Valuable Overseas Markets

The past seven years have represented the strongest period in history for American agricultural exports, with international sales of U.S. farm and food products totaling $911.4 billion between fiscal years 2009 and 2015. In fiscal year 2015, American farmers and ranchers exported $139.7 billion of food and agricultural goods to consumers worldwide. Not only that, U.S. agricultural exports supported more than 1 million American jobs both on and off the farm, a substantial part of the estimated 11.5 million jobs supported by exports all across our country. Additionally, the Administration has concluded negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that will help expand U.S. agricultural exports to some of the fastest growing countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and will now work with Congress to secure its passage into law.

Opening New Markets for Farmers, Ranchers and Rural Businesses

USDA continuously seeks opportunities for U.S. agricultural producers to expand overseas markets that contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, and boost economic growth.

  • USDA's Market Development Programs have provided funding to help approximately 70 U.S. agricultural producer associations, each representing hundreds or thousands of producers, expand commercial export markets for their goods. For example:
    1. The U.S. Meat Export Federation used the funds to give U.S. beef a boost in Korea, leveraging the popularity of Korea's emerging steak culture to U.S. beef's advantage by working with two leading restaurant chains. In 2015 U.S. beef exports reached $6.3 billion.
    2. Funding support provided to the Brewers Association helped California's Sierra Nevada brewery to expand exports to two new markets, Brazil and Japan, with sales totaling over $100,000 last year.
  • When implemented, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with 11 Pacific Rim countries will provide new market access across the board for America's farmers and ranchers by lowering tariffs and eliminating other barriers, and will boost exports and support jobs in our rural economies. The agreement will advance U.S. economic interests in a critical region that accounts for nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The TPP is a partnership between the United States and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
  • Since 2009, the United States has entered into free trade agreements with Colombia, Jordan, Oman, Panama, Peru, and South Korea. And through organic equivalency agreements established by USDA with Canada, the European Union, Switzerland, Japan, and Korea, U.S. organic farmers and businesses have streamlined access to over $35 billion international organic markets.
  • Through the Administration's Made in Rural America Export and Investment Initiative, USDA is working to help farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses access federal export programs, connect with new customers and markets abroad, and bring new opportunity to rural America.
  • Since 2009, USDA has led 246 U.S. agribusinesses and 26 State Departments of Agriculture on agricultural trade missions to Chile, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, India, Iraq, Malaysia, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam. These businesses reported on-the-spot and short-term follow-up sales of more than $94 million. That number will grow exponentially over the next several years as a direct result of the partnerships forged and contacts established during USDA trade missions.
  • USDA's efforts to highlight U.S. food and agricultural products at 23 domestic and international trade shows in 2015 generated $421 million in on-site sales and $1.5 billion in projected 12-month sales for nearly 1,000 U.S. companies that exhibited more than 5,000 new products.
  • USDA opened international market outlets for American farmers and ranchers by successfully negotiating and issuing thousands of export certificates for food products valued at more than $800 million.

Removing Barriers to Trade

USDA works on behalf of agricultural exporters to resolve trade related to animal and plant health concerns and to ensure that trade decisions are based on science. In FY 2015, USDA resolved more than 150 trade-related issues involving U.S. agricultural exports valued at $2.4 billion.

  • USDA has negotiated to eliminate BSE-related restrictions in 15 countries since January 2015, gaining additional market access for U.S. beef in Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Iraq, Lebanon, Macau, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Saint Lucia, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine and Vietnam. The total value of U.S. beef and beef product exports to these countries was in excess of $350 million in FY 2015.
  • When shipments are held up at foreign ports, USDA negotiates the overseas process to get products moving again. In FY 2015 USDA successfully secured the release of 250 detained shipments worth $45 million. The shipments ranged from wheat in Italy to kosher beef, poultry and lamb in Ukraine.
  • Following years of USDA-led technical exchange, the United States and China signed an agreement in 2015 to expand market access for U.S. apples from just two varieties to all U.S.-grown varieties. The Chinese apple market could be worth nearly $100 million per year to U.S. producers.
  • USDA preserved the EU market for U.S. tree nuts, valued at almost $3 billion in 2015, by ensuring the extension of the EU's temporary maximum residue limit for fosetyl-aluminum, a fertilizer widely used in U.S. tree nut production.
  • USDA efforts enabled U.S. poultry producers to maintain 74 percent of their previous year's export value in 2015, despite HPAI outbreaks and the closure of the Russian market for geopolitical reasons. In the past, such outbreaks were much more injurious, but USDA kept trade flowing by prevailing upon foreign governments to base their actions on sound science and international guidelines.
  • USDA successfully fought back South Africa's sanitary barriers to exports of U.S. poultry, pork and beef in January 2016, regaining an export market valued at an estimated $75 million per year.
  • USDA secured the elimination of Chile's two-year quarantine requirement for walnut plants in January 2016, meaning an estimated $7 million in U.S. walnut plants could be exported to Chile in 2016.
  • In March 2016, USDA secured full market access for U.S. beef products in Peru. U.S. exports of beef and beef products to Peru were valued at $25.4 million in 2015, a nearly four-fold increase since enactment of the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement in 2009.
  • In April 2016, USDA negotiated for the expansion of allowable pathogen reduction treatments in Singapore to mirror those allowed for use on U.S. meat and poultry products. This action was supported by a recently signed TPP side-letter and preserved about $44 million in annual trade.