USDA chief promotes ag exports to China, Philippines
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Asia on Oct. 23-30 to participate in bilateral meetings on agricultural trade and development in China and support a U.S. trade mission to the Philippines.
'The United States and China are two of the largest agricultural exporters and the world looks to our two countries for leadership in the trade arena,' Vilsack said in a statement.
From Oct. 28-29, Vilsack will participate in the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) meeting in Hangzhou, China, along with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.
In addition to the JCCT, Vilsack will hold private meetings with Chinese government officials in Beijing and visit with U.S. agricultural businesses in Shanghai.
Since China's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, the country has become one of the fastest growing markets for U.S. agricultural, fish and forest exports. Exports to China increased from $2.2 billion in 2001 to $13.2 billion in 2008. Today, China is the fourth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, and the largest for soybeans, cotton, hides and skins, the USDA said.
In the Philippines, Vilsack will meet with senior government officials, and visit agricultural production and research facilities.
'This mission will further solidify direct commercial relations between U.S. and Philippine producers, processors, traders and investors by providing a forum in which companies can meet to identify business opportunities,' Vilsack said.
The trade mission to the Philippines is the first for USDA in Southeast Asia. The Philippines is a key market in the region for U.S. agricultural exports, with sales of more than $1.77 billion in 2008, a record high, while U.S. agricultural imports from the Philippines reached $1.24 billion during the same period.