McKinney leads trade mission to Central America | TSLN.com

McKinney leads trade mission to Central America

Agriculture Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney will lead a trade mission to Guatemala Sunday through Friday accompanied by a delegation of agribusiness and state government leaders seeking to grow U.S. agricultural exports to Central America's Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

"The Northern Triangle offers significant market opportunities for exporters of U.S. farm and food products," McKinney said. "Thanks to population and economic growth in the region, demand for imported goods — particularly high-value, consumer-oriented food products — is on the rise. And more than 95 percent of U.S. agricultural exports enjoy duty free access to the region under the CAFTA-DR trade agreement."

Since implementation of CAFTA-DR in the Northern Triangle in 2006, U.S. agricultural exports to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have doubled, totaling $2.2 billion in 2017. In all three countries, rising GDPs and rapidly expanding urban and middle-class populations are expected to lead to continued growth in demand for food and farm products over the coming decade, USDA said.

While the mission will be based in Guatemala, participants will also connect with importers from El Salvador and Honduras who will travel to Guatemala. In-country staff from USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service will arrange nearly 450 one-on-one business meetings between U.S. delegates and representatives from local companies interested in purchasing U.S. products.

Mission participants include Nevada Department of Agriculture Director Jim Barbee, New Mexico Department of Agriculture Director/Secretary Jeff Witte, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Derek Sandison, as well as representatives from the Alabama, Arizona and Tennessee state departments of agriculture and the Idaho Department of Trade.

The USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service recently released a report on the increase in exports to the Northern Triangle under CAFTA, the free-trade agreement between the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic.

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