Washington, DC - USDA Secretary Vilsack will travel to Japan and China this week, to meet with agricultural counterparts. The United States recently concluded negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Japan and 10 other nations. Countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership currently account for up to 42 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports, totaling $63 billion. The Administration continues to work with Congress to secure the passage of the agreement into law so that American agriculture can take full advantage of unprecedented new market access in some of the fastest-growing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
The past seven years have represented the strongest period for American agricultural exports in the history of our country, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $911.3 billion between Fiscal Years 2009 and 2015. In fiscal year 2015, American farmers and ranchers exported $139.7 billion of food and agricultural goods to consumers worldwide. Not only that, U.S. agricultural exports supported more than 1 million American jobs both on and off the farm, a substantial part of the estimated 11.7 million jobs supported by exports all across our country.
Opening New Markets for Farmers, Ranchers, and Rural Businesses
USDA continuously seeks opportunities for U.S. agricultural producers to expand overseas markets that contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, and boost economic growth.
- USDA's Market Development Programs have provided funding to help approximately 70 U.S. agricultural producer associations, each representing hundreds or thousands of producers, expand commercial export markets for their goods. An independent study demonstrated that U.S. agricultural exports increased by $6.1 billion as a result of the increased joint investment in foreign market development by government and industry during the 2002-09 timeframe studied. Overall, U.S. agricultural exports increase $35 for every additional market development dollar expended by government and industry.
- When implemented, the TPP agreement with 11 Pacific Rim countries will provide new market access across the board for America's farmers and ranchers by lowering tariffs and eliminating other barriers, and will boost exports and support jobs in our rural economies. The agreement will advance U.S. economic interests in a critical region that accounts for nearly 40 percent of global GDP. The TPP is a partnership between the United States and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
- Since 2009, the United States has entered into free trade agreements with Colombia, Jordan, Oman, Panama, Peru, and South Korea. And through organic equivalency agreements established by USDA with Canada, the European Union, Switzerland, Japan, and Korea, U.S. organic farmers and businesses have streamlined access to over $35 billion international organic markets.
- Through the Administration's Made in Rural America Export and Investment Initiative, USDA is working to help farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses access federal export programs, connect with new customers and markets abroad, and bring new opportunity to rural America.
- Since 2009, USDA has led more than 225 U.S. agribusinesses and more than 20 State Departments of Agriculture on agricultural trade missions to China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, India, Iraq, Malaysia, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam. These businesses reported on-the-spot and short- term follow-up sales of more than $94 million. That number will grow exponentially over the next several years as a direct result of the partnerships forged and contacts established during USDA trade missions.
- USDA opened international market outlets for American farmers and ranchers by successfully negotiating and issuing thousands of export certificates for food products valued at more than $800 million.
Removing Unfair Barriers to Trade
USDA works on behalf of agricultural exporters to resolve trade related to animal and plant health concerns and to ensure that trade decisions are based on science. In FY2015, USDA resolved more than 150 trade-related issues involving U.S. agricultural exports valued at $2.4 billion.
- In FY2015, USDA engaged trading partners to eliminate all remaining animal health barriers related to BSE for U.S. export markets. The following 14 countries removed all BSE restrictions and granted access to U.S. beef and beef products: Australia; Macau; Philippines; New Zealand; Singapore; Ukraine; Vietnam; Egypt; Lebanon; Turkey; Costa Rica; Guatemala; St. Lucia; Iraq. The total value of U.S. beef and beef products exported to the 14 countries that lifted their BSE restrictions is in excess of $180 million.
- In FY 2015, USDA retained the poultry market to the European Union worth $111 million.
- When shipments are held up at foreign ports, USDA negotiates the overseas process to get products moving again. In FY 2015 USDA successfully secured the release of 250 detained shipments worth $45 million. The shipments ranged from apples to Taiwan to horses to Mexico.
- The USDA successfully negotiated continuation of "on-arrival" fumigation for California citrus for the 2015/2016 season. Korea remains the number one market for California citrus estimated to be worth $225 million.
- USDA successfully negotiated with Australia to open the Australian market to California Japanese plums in time for the 2015 shipping season. With the addition of California Japanese plums, the U.S. stone fruit market to Australia is now valued at $12 million per year.
- In FY 2015 USDA secured access for U.S. pork to Peru, a market valued at $5 million per year.
- USDA expanded market access for all apple varieties from all states of the U.S. to China in FY2015; the estimated value of this market is $100 million.
- The USDA minimized the trade impact of 2015 flag smut detection in Kansas which protected approximately $800 million in annual sales of Hard Red Winter wheat to the sixteen countries that regulate for this disease.
USDA believes that American agriculture will always succeed if competition is fair. USDA remains a strong partner and advocate in the international marketplace, working with foreign governments and international regulatory or standard-setting organizations to ensure the smooth and safe flow of international trade. USDA will continue to strike down foreign barriers to American products that can't be justified by science-while helping exporters identify and gain access to new overseas markets.