Ag Secretary Outlines Strategy to Increase Exports09 March 2010
US - During a keynote speech at the 2010 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, California on 5 March, Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack set out USDA’s plans to increase exports of agricultural products and strengthen the American agriculture economy.
While USDA has traditionally looked at agricultural trading partners by geographic region, under the new trade strategy outlined by Mr Vilsack, the agency looks at countries based on their position on an agricultural market continuum. USDA reports the plan will enable tailored strategies to increase exports to each individual market.
Mr Vilsack told attendees the new strategy will help achieve the President’s plan of doubling all US exports in the next five years — part of the National Export Initiative announced during the State of the Union address late January.
Mr Vilsack said the market continuum will now go “from fragile markets/food security states, to potential growth markets, to restricted access markets, to rapid growth markets, to developed consumer markets.” According to USDA, the new strategy will improve collaboration among USDA agencies and guide priorities.
For example, in potential growth markets, USDA programmes will now emphasise building the institutional and human capacity needed to support increased trade, while in restricted access markets, USDA efforts are designed to remove trade barriers. In rapid growth markets, USDA will now use a full range of programmes to build trade capacity, remove trade barriers and develop new markets for US products.
The annual value of US agricultural exports is rapidly increasing, USDA reports. Ten years ago the annual value was less than $50 billion and this year, even with the sharp global economic downturn, USDA estimates agricultural exports to reach $100 billion, the second-highest level ever. USDA will continue to push hard for an open rules-based international trading system that will benefit both consumers and suppliers of agricultural products around the world, Mr Vilsack said.
USDA has launched an updated web site and social media tools at www.usda.gov, designed to enhance discussions and facilitate innovation for challenges facing rural America.