Vilsack Plans East Asian Tour

Next week Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will travel to China and Vietnam to promote American agricultural products abroad. Secretary Vilsack has long been an advocate of expanding American export markets, boasting that increased agricultural production creates desperately needed domestic jobs.
Vilsack’s decision to visit China and Vietnam represents the increased market power of those two nations. Vilsack is not the only American politician to visit East Asia. Last month, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder headed a trade delegation to China, hoping to increase Michigan farm exports and boost the state’s economy.
This year, China jumped ahead to become the largest importer of American agricultural goods, moving ahead of Canada and Mexico. Vietnam also increased its imports, moving from the 50th to the 15th place in terms of American market shares.
The goal of the trip, according to Vilsack, is to “strengthen trade relationships we have with both nations, support the American brand, and create more opportunities for American producers to sell their goods throughout the Asia Pacific region.”
Preparing for the upcoming trip, Vilsack praised free trade agreements, lauding President Obama for, “sign[ing] new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. When implemented, they will increase farm exports by an additional $2.3 billion—supporting nearly 20,000 American jobs—by eliminating tariffs, removing barriers to trade and leveling the playing field for U.S. producers.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer