Ag Trade is Front and Center at Annual USAEDC Conference

Three people, one woman, two men, dressed in business attire stand talking in a meeting room
When it comes to trade, USA Rice's Sarah Moran (center) is spot on
Jul 15, 2019
ARLINGTON, VA -- Last week USA Rice participated in the 39th annual U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council (USAEDC) conference, a forum for agricultural commodity exporters and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials to discuss trade.  The two-day conference commenced with individual one-on-one meetings with USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) officials, where USA Rice met with attachés covering countries within the Western Hemisphere and Asia.

“USA Rice staff discussed trade priorities and promotional plans with current and upcoming FAS attaches in China, Mexico, and Central America,” said Sarah Moran, USA Rice vice president international.  “As always, this conference was an excellent opportunity to get updates from USDA and U.S. Trade Representative leadership, with discussions this year centering around China and Japan.”

Day Two of the conference commenced with a panel on U.S. priorities and trade, with USDA’s Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney, and Chief Agricultural Negotiator Ambassador Gregg Doud.  The panel was moderated by FAS Administrator Ken Isley.  Doud was candid in his opinion on the possibility of a hard or soft Brexit depending on the next prime minister of the UK.  He also spoke about trade in Japan and challenges in Africa.  

Undersecretary McKinney touched on the big wins for U.S. agriculture, including the second round of Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) funding totaling $100 million.  He also spoke about getting “back to the [negotiating] table with China” and USDA’s work to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Other sessions at the USAEDC conference focused on deepening trade with the USMCA, new market opportunities, updates from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) agency, as well as challenges and opportunities in China.

Moran gave an in-depth presentation on the history of the Cuban rice market and current opportunities due to the newly authorized availability of Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) funds for programs in the region.