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Investments To Help Sustain Global Market Demand

22 November 2011

VIET NAM - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week (16 November) that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing in approximately 70 US agricultural organisations to help expand commercial export markets for their goods.

Secretary Vilsack made the announcement during a conference call with reporters from Viet Nam, where he is meeting with officials to help strengthen trade relations in the Asia Pacific region.

"Under the Obama Administration, USDA has continued to expand markets for American goods abroad, worked aggressively to break down barriers to trade, and assisted US businesses with the resources needed to reach consumers around the world," said Secretary Vilsack. "The funding announced will ensure that US agriculture remains a bright spot in America’s economy and a driving force behind export growth, job creation, and our nation’s competitiveness."

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) allocated $213 million for export promotion activities through two USDA international market development programmes: the Foreign Market Development programme (FMD) and the Market Access Programme (MAP). USDA’s international market development programmes have had a significant and positive impact on US agricultural exports. An independent study released in 2010 found that for every $1 expended by government and industry on market development, US food and agricultural exports increase by $35.

Currently, the American brand of agriculture is surging in popularity worldwide. Farm exports in fiscal year 2011 reached a record high of $137.4 billion—exceeding past highs by $22.5 billion—and supported 1.15 million jobs here at home. The agricultural trade surplus stands at a record $42.9 billion. USDA also forecasts that new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will add an additional $2.3 billion to the farm economy and support about 20,000 American jobs.

Under FMD, FAS will allocate a total of $29.7 million to 24 trade organisations that represent US agricultural producers. The organisations, which must contribute a minimum 50 per cent cost share toward the programme, will conduct activities that help maintain or increase demand for US agricultural commodities overseas. Under MAP, FAS will provide $183 million to 67 nonprofit organisations and cooperatives. MAP participants must contribute a minimum 10 per cent match for generic marketing and promotion activities and a dollar-for-dollar match for promotion of branded products by small businesses and cooperatives.

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