Trade is always an important topic for agriculture. Alexis Taylor, USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, says commodity trade doesn’t just support farmers.
Taylor says, “In 2021, US agricultural exports supported more than 1.2 million jobs and generated nearly $190 billion in additional economic activity. That economic activity is not only critical to supporting the livelihoods of our farmers and ranchers but the communities that they are living in. USDA is committed to opening new markets and reducing and eliminating trade barriers for U.S. producers.”
She said at the NAFB annual meeting that it’s important to educate people outside of agriculture on the benefits of ag trade. “One priority area for the administration has is to build trust with and within the global trading system. While everyone at this meeting may acutely understand the benefits that trade brings to the agricultural sector, not everyone necessarily in the United States or around the world does. And those benefits have not necessarily been felt equally amongst all parts of the agricultural sector. This is why in my first year in this position, I’ve been committed to creating new market opportunities worldwide for our producers, exporters, agribusinesses.”
In many cases, opening and developing new markets does take a lot of time.
Taylor says, “Market development does not happen overnight, and sometimes it can take decades of engagement. I often think about trade as like victory by inches. But we have already seen some results from the efforts that we have undertaken. A few others I wanted to highlight is after decades of work, we’ve been able to expand to full market access for potato exporters into Mexico. Also, in February of this year, I met with Vietnamese government officials as we finalized access for U.S. grapefruit to the Vietnamese market.”