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Trip included bilateral meetings between government officials as well as companies that buy U.S. products.
November 17, 2018
U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs Ted McKinney traveled to the Philippines and Thailand the week of Nov. 12-17 as part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to seek new trade opportunities for American agriculture.
The trip included bilateral meetings between government officials and commodity groups on the ground in the countries as well as companies that buy U.S. products.
McKinney was optimistic about the opportunity to grow the markets as the Philippines represent the 10th-largest overall market for U.S. agricultural exports, and Thailand is 13th. He said each country has rapidly growing disposable income and is westernizing at a rapid pace.
He said dried distillers grains, pork and distilled beverages are all market segments showing growth potential. He is also optimistic about U.S. wheat use in this part of the world. McKinney said the Asia Pacific region is “popping for U.S. wheat” as users seek U.S. flour because of its quality. “U.S. wheat flour by far is the preference,” he said.
As always, McKinney said the discussions with governments sought to address sanitary and non-sanitary issues as well.
In the case of Thailand, it has not allowed in frozen or chilled turkeys because of highly pathogenic avian influenza cases that occurred a few years ago, although it does allow cooked turkey.
He said poultry meat product sales were $2.3 million in 2014 but then dropped to $300,000 in 2015 and $400,000 in 2016. Last year, sales were back up to $2.5 million. “We’re trying to build on that momentum,” McKinney noted.
McKinney reiterated the goal to make sure there is free, fair and reciprocal trade. “We are sharing with them that we are a good partner,” which he said includes building trust and reinforcing that trade is a two-way street.
Thailand and the Philippines have 20-40% tariffs to protect their domestic pork industries. McKinney said he recognizes the sensitivity of not wanting to harm their pork producers but said Mexico is a partnership where their local pork producers have thrived by importing more U.S. commodities.
McKinney said the agency is on a quest to spend much more time with its customers. As follow-up meetings can occur beyond just one visit, it solidifies the dedication to that region and commitment to trade.
Policy editor, Farm Futures
Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.
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