In a recent talk highlighting the importance of foreign trade to the US economy, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack praised the US Department of Agriculture’s successes in breaking down trade barriers.
Farm exports have long been one of the most profitable parts of the US farm economy and have been a major component of overall US economic activity. In 2010, more than $110 billion of US farm products were shipped overseas. With developing nations like China demanding more American livestock and with American corn seeing increased demand for ethanol production, exports have remained booming for the last several years.
In part Secretary Vilsack, who has actively pursued free trade policies that benefit American exporters, has helped this boom. “As consumers around the world demand high-quality, American-grown products, USDA staff are monitoring more than 160 markets to ensure an open system of trade, free from unwarranted and unjustified barriers,” said Vilsack. “Since 2009, USDA has acted to remove hundreds of unfair barriers to trade for American companies and is providing businesses with the resources they need to reach new markets. These efforts have resulted in the most successful period in the history for American agriculture and a boon for America’s rural economies and agriculture-related businesses.”
Vilsack and the USDA appear on the verge of a major free trade coup as the United States and major Pacific Rim nations like China and Japan are currently negotiating the terms of a free trade agreement that would open up those markets to American farm exports.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer