Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled a comprehensive strategy to enhance U.S. agricultural trade, announcing the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) planned trade missions for 2024 and initiating a public comment period for the new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP).
The efforts aim to further stimulate the growth of U.S. agricultural exports and introduce high-quality American agricultural products to emerging markets, reinforcing the importance of market diversification in mitigating risks associated with global market volatility.
"Market diversification is an important tool for maximizing growth opportunities for U.S. agriculture, as well as hedging the risk of market contraction and general volatility in the global marketplace," emphasized Secretary Vilsack. "USDA is committed to promoting export opportunities in non-traditional markets and ensuring that U.S. agricultural commodities and products are available to diverse consumer groups around the world."
In a groundbreaking move, Secretary Vilsack previously announced in October that USDA would allocate $1.3 billion from the Commodity Credit Corporation funds to establish RAPP. The program aims to diversify U.S. agricultural export opportunities and strengthen support for specialty crop industries. This substantial investment is anticipated to empower American exporters to penetrate new markets and expand their market share.
The regulations for RAPP will be published on Friday, November 17, and will be open for public comment for 30 days, encouraging stakeholders and the public to contribute valuable insights.
Highlighting the success of USDA export promotion programs, Secretary Vilsack noted that U.S. agricultural exports reached a record $196 billion in 2022, following a remarkable year in 2021. Some notable achievements include Vietnam opening its market for U.S. grapefruit exporters, India dropping retaliatory tariffs on several key agricultural products, Canada's legislative recognition of U.S. biofuels, and Mexico granting market access to U.S. potatoes after more than two decades of engagement.
Building on these successes, USDA plans to lead agribusiness trade missions to key markets in 2024, showcasing export opportunities and fostering new partnerships. The schedule for 2024 includes missions to Seoul, Korea; New Delhi, India; Vancouver, Canada; Bogota, Colombia; Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Casablanca, Morocco.