BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - USA Rice participated in the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council (USAEDC) annual workshop here last week attended by commodity trade associations, state and regional trade groups, as well as marketing and research companies to hear the latest from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with updates on current agricultural, economic, and political developments.
Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney gave the keynote address highlighting the importance of looking for new trading partners in emerging markets and elsewhere. He said the U.S.'s current trading partners alone will not provide the growth in exports required and expected, and pointed to recent U.S. trade missions to Egypt, Brazil, and India. ("USA Rice on First-Ever USDA Trade Mission to Brazil," USA Rice Daily, October 11, 2017
Mark Slupek, Deputy Administrator for the Office of Trade Programs, expanded on the importance of these trade missions as they provided educational and business development opportunities for 75 agribusinesses, cooperators, and state departments of agriculture and enabled more than 1,000 one-on-one business meetings which he projects will lead to more than $30 million in projected sales over the next year.
Janae Brady, Senior Professional Staff, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, discussed the upcoming Farm Bill budget. Ms. Brady highlighted the program areas in which the committee would like to spend more, specifically commodity, conservation, loan, research, and trade. She also emphasized the importance of telling ag success stories on partnerships, return on investment, new markets, and the current reliable markets for U.S. agriculture exports.
"Under Secretary McKinney's remarks were spot on for us - we need to find new export markets while still protecting and expanding our existing markets," said Sarah Moran, vice president international who attended the workshop. "The Trump Administration's trade team tends to put a lot of emphasis on trade deficits, but agriculture is a great example of U.S. strength, efficiency, and ingenuity, which is why our sector posts a trade surplus. We need to keep moving forward though - more trading opportunities, not less."
The U.S. rice industry has continued to benefit from its partnership with USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service through the Foreign Market Development (FMD) and Market Access Program (MAP) for overseas promotion to enhance export opportunities. USA Rice received $1,677,201 in FMD and the U.S. rice industry received $2,841,655 in MAP funding for the 2018 program year.