As American businesses look to reach the 95 percent of consumers outside of U.S. borders, USDA is providing support and service. For example, in 2012, USDA has been able to help conduct more than 110 trade shows around the world to help more than 1,000 U.S. companies make more than $500 million in on-site sales. The majority of these were small and medium-sized businesses. While strong exports benefit farms and rural communities, agricultural trade is also a building block for a strong national economy.
Along with their federal partners, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) works to protect the health and value of American agriculture and natural resources in the international environment. Last year, APHIS successfully negotiated and resolved 150 animal and plant health issues involving U.S. agricultural exports. Examples include:
- Spearheaded a 6-month pilot program with China's animal and plant health authority which established the resumption of log exports from Virginia and South Carolina, resulting in more than $1.5 million in U.S. hardwood log exports to China from those States. The pilot program was recently extended by China. The pilot program signals renewed Chinese confidence in Virginia and South Carolina forestry exports. The United States exported more than $7.7 billion in forestry products in 2011, supporting more than 65,000 jobs. During the first eleven months of 2012, U.S. log exports to China from all states reached nearly $730 million. Nearly 25 percent of those exports landed in China, the second largest market for U.S. timber. Seaports in Virginia and South Carolina handled more than half-a-billion-dollars in U.S. forestry exports in 2011.
- Worked with Mexican officials to spur U.S. table eggs exports to Mexico valued at $45 million per year.
- Secured Japanese market access for poultry and poultry products from New York, Ohio and South Dakota. In 2011, U.S. poultry exports to Japan totaled $88 million.
- Supported the shipment of U.S. cattle to new markets in 2012 by engaging foreign counterparts in preparation for exports and approving seven temporary export inspection facilities to supplement the agency's permanent export facilities, reducing the distance cattle traveled before export and helping exporters meet shipping deadlines. Turkish and Russian purchases alone during fiscal year 2012 were valued at roughly $300 million.
- Secured the release of 324 shipments of U.S. agricultural products detained at foreign ports, valued at more than $41 million. For example, APHIS recently secured the release of seven grain shipments valued at $1.8 million from the port of Haiphong, Vietnam, and the agency continues to work with Vietnamese officials and the U.S. grain industry on a permanent solution that will keep exports moving efficiently to that market.