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Our Unwavering Efforts in Facilitating Bilateral Trade

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting with US Department of Agriculture counterparts in both Chile and Peru. My travel to South America was an opportunity to discuss our most recent trade successes and how we can further build on this great relationship and momentum. 

In Chile, I met with the Chilean Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Furche and Chilean Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) officials to discuss bilateral animal and plant health trade issues. US Ambassador to Chile, Michael Hammer, was also in attendance. To better understand their domestic processes and procedures for imports, I participated in a tour of a grocery store selling U.S. products including U.S. beef and visited a feedlot and a dairy farm as well as other agricultural sites near Santiago. This year Chile granted market access to U.S. live cattle and renewed domestic access to U.S. bovine embryos, more easily allowing Chile’s farmers to improve the national beef and dairy herds with genetics supplied from the U.S. The last time I visited Chile was five years ago, so it was great to refresh the cooperative and collaborative working relationship between USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and SAG.

Quality You Can Trust

When you think of what really makes fruit and vegetables stand out it usually comes down to quality.  Determining quality – making sure your fresh food looks, smells, feels and tastes just the way you expect it to – is what USDA’s Quality Monitoring Program (QMP) does.

The program, run by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Specialty Crops Inspection Division, allows produce suppliers and others to have products inspected by USDA based on specific internal standards or U.S. grade standards.  As a neutral third-party, USDA evaluates various commodities through QMP – everything from olive oil to canned, frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables.

New Mexico Farmers Supply Local Food to Community with Conservation

Everything that siblings Adán and Pilar Trujillo do on their Chimayó, New Mexico, farm connects with the community. Their lettuce and chile peppers feed students at local schools. And they sell their rhubarb, rainbow chard and red Russian kale at the community market just down the road in Española.

Conservation work helps the brother-and-sister duo make this possible. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is honoring contributions made by Hispanic Americans like the Trujillos to our nation during National Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual commemoration held Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

New Beef Cut List Opens Trade Possibilities for U.S. Producers

In a collaborative effort, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Agricultural Service and the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) recently published a revised list of beef cuts.  The list now includes U.S. cuts, based on USDA standards, available for export to Chile under the existing Free Trade Agreement. The addition of the new cuts, listed next to their Chilean equivalent, will allow U.S. producers to send more products to Chile.

The U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement became effective January 1, 2004, and was the first such arrangement with a South American country.  It provides America’s farmers, ranchers, food processors, and their businesses improved, and in many cases, new access to Chile’s market of 15 million consumers. The Free Trade Agreement calls for duty-free access on all products and addresses other trade measures for both countries.

Protecting Natural Resources Impacted by Tourism in Chile

Patagonia, Chile is known for its spectacular views, amazing scenery and great fly fishing.  The area attracts 2 million tourists annually. But only 20 percent of Chile’s natural resources are protected.  Chilean stakeholders recently partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and the State Department to develop tourism in concert with land management practices.

Foreign Delegations Tour US Forest Service's State-of-Art Interagency Fire Center in Boise

The Forest Service has managed wildfires for more than 100 years and is considered the best wildland fire organization in the world. As leaders, we are continually striving to gain a better understanding of fire behavior with cutting edge research and technology. Sharing our expertise through international exchange programs is critical to advancing natural resource protection and wildland fire techniques worldwide.

FAS Field Office Faces Trade Challenges Head-On

Every day, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) field offices work to maintain access for U.S. products in export markets around the world. When trade is disrupted, these offices step up to the plate to address the issue and work with their counterparts in Washington, D.C., the exporters, and the foreign government to ensure trade can resume.