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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.

Career, Adventure Await Candidates for New APHIS Foreign Service Training Program

When Dr. Conrad Estrada became an APHIS Foreign Service Officer (FSO), his goal was to get out of his comfort zone, “not only in the geographic sense, but also on a personal and professional level.”

Six years later, the veterinarian admits he got both wishes. Trained in Peru, Estrada earned his master’s degree in preventive veterinary medicine at the University of California-Davis before joining the APHIS Foreign Service in 2009.  He is now the APHIS Foreign Service (FS) area director in Brasilia, Brazil, a job that “has offered me a great opportunity to expand my horizons, as well as increase my understanding of an integrated agricultural global market.”

Online Tool Helps Ag Exporters Track Trade Agreements

The United States has free trade agreements with 20 countries around the world that expand export opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural producers.  To help exporters obtain information about tariff reductions resulting from these FTAs, the Foreign Agricultural Service recently launched the Agricultural Tariff Tracker.

“The tracker was developed in response to requests from the agricultural export community for more detailed information about export opportunities resulting from FTAs,” said Jeff Jones, a senior policy advisor with FAS. “Though we’ve seen significant expansion in U.S. agricultural exports as a result of our trade agreements, there will be even more opportunities for U.S. agricultural exporters in the future as tariffs continue to fall throughout implementation,” he said. “Providing more information in a user-friendly format will allow exporters to maximize the potential of these agreements.”

Quinoa: A Plant with a Lot of Potential

In February of this year, the United National declared 2013 the International Year of the Quinoa. Yet, I’m sure not many people have even heard of quinoa, let alone know about its nutritional qualities.

Originating from Bolivia, Chile and Peru around 5,000 years ago, quinoa is a grain that is growing in popularity across the country. Consumed like rice and used to make flour, soup, cereals or alcohol, quinoa is very nutritious due to its high protein content, making it an important food crop in alleviating hunger and food security in impoverished areas of the world.

Forest Service Recognizes United Nations' International Day of Forests

Try going one full day without using a product derived from a tree.

You won’t be able to use a pencil or paper or sit on your couch or at a desk. You won’t be able to check the mail or drink coffee while reading the newspaper.

USDA Trade Missions Rack Up Millions in Sales for U.S. Businesses

Under the Obama Administration, USDA has continued to expand markets for American goods abroad, worked aggressively to break down barriers to trade, and assisted U.S. businesses with the resources needed to reach consumers around the world. And by organizing and executing agricultural trade missions, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is helping U.S. businesses reach the 95-percent of consumers who live outside the United States.

Possible New Flavor Sensations from the Jungles of Peru

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA's rich science and research portfolio.

What a long, strange trip it’s been for newly discovered South American varieties of cacao beans—all the way from the remote Amazon Basin in Peru to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) labs in Beltsville, Md., where the beans are being studied as a possible source of future high-end chocolates that could one day be marketed, like fine wines, by geographical provenance.

U.S. Agribusinesses on Trade Mission to Peru-Ecuador Look Forward to Making Sales, Forming Partnerships

Last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama talked about re-inventing our country “to make America the best place on Earth to do business.” He talked about creating new jobs and industries to re-energize our economy. He talked about the goal of doubling exports by the close of 2014 because the more we export the more jobs we create here at home.

Here at USDA, we are working every day to answer the President’s call. That is why I arrived in Lima, Peru, over the weekend to lead 20 U.S. agribusinesses on a trade and investment mission to develop business ties and explore opportunities for joint ventures with some 150 Peruvian and Ecuadorian companies. These U.S. companies represent the full range of food and agricultural products from bulk commodities to consumer-ready food products.