The USDA forged ahead to expand export opportunities and diversify markets for US farm and food products in 2018, and the efforts paid off with global sales remaining robust despite numerous challenges in the international trade arena, a Foreign Agricultural Service release said.
One of the year’s highlights was the successful negotiation of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, through which the US strengthened its trade relationship with its North American neighbors, the FAS said.
“We like to say that we’re leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to seek out new market opportunities and improve our export prospects in existing markets,” said Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney in the release.
In addition, USDA efforts to break down barriers and pursue export opportunities resulted in new or expanded market access for many US agricultural products in 2018, the release said. These included dairy and poultry to Canada under the USMCA, as well as lamb and goat meat to Japan, beef and pork to Argentina, poultry to India and Namibia, lamb to El Salvador, beef and poultry to Morocco, eggs to South Africa and dairy to Turkey.
FAS HELPS UNLOCK DETAINED SHIPMENTS
FAS staff also assisted US exporters in releasing hundreds of shipments that were detained at foreign ports, the release said. The USDA’s intervention ensured that more than $77 million of perishable US products arrived safely. Among them were beef to Bulgaria, cherries to Taiwan, cranberries to China, lobsters to the United Arab Emirates and squid to Peru.
As part of that effort, the FAS sponsored six agricultural trade missions in 2018, enabling more than 200 US companies and organizations to engage in 3,000 one-on-one meetings with foreign buyers, generating more than $140 million in projected 12-month sales, the FAS said.
Similarly, the USDA organized exporter participation in 19 trade shows around the globe, where more than 900 US companies introduced 4,500 new products to potential customers and reported $296 million in on-site sales and $2 billion in projected 12-month sales, the release said.
To further strengthen those trade promotion efforts, the FAS rolled out the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program, which will provide $200 million to mitigate the effects of other countries’ trade barriers by helping US agricultural exporters develop new markets, the FAS said. A total of 71 organizations applied for the new program, submitting requests totaling more than $600 million.
Under the trade capacity-building umbrella, FAS international fellowship and exchange programs enabled 569 foreign researchers, policymakers and agricultural specialists from 56 lower- and middle-income countries to work alongside US mentors and trainers last year, acquiring knowledge and skills to help build their countries’ agricultural sectors and increase their ability to engage in global trade, the release said.
The FAS also helped many developing countries strengthen their agricultural systems, focusing on issues like animal disease control, agricultural data collection and reporting, and development of national sanitary and phytosanitary standards, the FAS said.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Cash cattle traded last week at $122 to $123 per cwt on a live basis in the Plains, steady to down $1 from the previous week. Dressed-basis trades were reported at $194 to $195, also steady to down $1.
The USDA choice cutout Wednesday was down $0.14 per cwt at $213.84, while select was down $0.79 at $206.47. The choice/select spread widened to $7.37 from $6.72 with 88 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Tuesday, was $145.70 per cwt, up $0.07. This compares with Wednesday’s Jan settlement of $146.82, down $0.80.