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USDA leads Russia trade mission

By Carina Perkins , 05-Dec-2012
Last updated the 05-Dec-2012 at 11:56 GMT

USDA leads Russia trade mission

US meat and livestock companies have joined other food businesses and officials on a trade mission in Russia this week (3-7 December).

The mission, led by US Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, will include meetings with Russian government officials, as well as distributors and importers.

Twenty one US food companies are taking part, along with representatives from the states of Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Kansas,

The US Department for Agriculture (USDA) said Russia was an “important market” for the US, with opportunities expanded since its accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO) earlier this year. US trade with Russia was worth around $1.5bn in 2012, with red meat, poultry and live cattle among the top US exports to the Russian market.

The USDA said the Russian mission followed on from a “successful” trade mission to China earlier this year. It added that it was working “aggressively” to tackle trade barriers and expand export opportunities for US producers.

“Fewer restrictions abroad, stronger trade deals for US agriculture, and greater export assistance for US businesses support more than 1 million American jobs in industries from packing and shipping, to food processing, to transportation. This is an American-made success story that we’re bringing to Russia, and many other nations demanding the highest-quality, American-grown products,” said Scuse.

Growing sector

Last week, the USDA predicted the total value of US agricultural exports would reach $145bn in 2013 and forecast net farm income at its highest level since the 1970s. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the data showed “a robust agricultural economy poised to recover from the worst drought in more than a generation”.

He added that the agricultural sector would be a “major contributor” to President Obama’s goal of doubling US exports by the end of 2014, and called on Congress to support farmers with legislation. “It is important that Congress help ensure that this success continues by passing a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that provides greater certainty for farmers, ranchers and businesses, and their millions of customers around the world.”

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