In an interview with Reuters, U.S. Secretary Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack acknowledged a nearly 20% decline in U.S. corn exports to China, attributing the dip to China capitalizing on lower corn prices in Brazil. Vilsack, however, expressed optimism, anticipating a resurgence in export numbers over time.
Speaking to Reuters, Vilsack highlighted the prevailing tightness in the U.S. market, with prices slightly higher than those in Brazil and South America. He noted China's tendency to leverage lower costs, stating, "Over time, we'll continue to see a righting and balancing of that."
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that U.S. agricultural and related product exports to China through September reached approximately $19.9 billion, marking the slowest pace in three years and an 18% decrease from the same period in the previous year. In contrast, exports to all countries experienced a 12% decline.
To address the over-reliance on major markets like China, Vilsack announced the launch of the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP), a $1.2 billion initiative over five years. The program will support non-profit U.S. agricultural trade groups, state trade groups, and agricultural cooperatives in expanding their market presence globally.
Vilsack emphasized the significance of diversification during a meeting with the President's Export Council, noting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would start accepting applications for an initial $300 million to aid agricultural exporters in entering new markets outside of China, Canada, Mexico, and the European Union.