Alexis Taylor, USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, took her first trade mission trip to Panama. She led a group of almost 30 U.S. agribusinesses, farm groups, state and regional groups, and state departments of agriculture. Taylor says this was a great chance to explore trade opportunities.
?We have really strong cultural and economic ties to this region, and certainly to Panama, all of which is built upon a foundation of some of our trade agreement,? Taylor said. ?Our diverse delegation represents just about everything that American agriculture has to offer from our world-class and high-quality U.S. beef, pork, and poultry products to cheeses and gourmet foods to fresh fruits and organic snacks and distilled spirits and wine.?
Taylor said the Panama region is an important trade partner for U.S. agricultural goods.
?I think this mission highlights why this region is really important to Panama and our CAFTA-DR Countries,? Taylor said. ?Last year was a record. We sold $8.8 billion of food and agricultural products, up 57 percent from 2018.?
Panama also provides big opportunities for market diversification.
?Last year, we had 30 markets that hit $1 billion, and that’s up from 27 during the previous year,? Taylor said. ?Two were in this region. One was Panama and one was Costa Rica. And so, if we think about ensuring our food and agricultural producers have diverse markets, this region, I think, is an extremely important part of our strategy there.?
Taylor said she also took part in an MOU signing involving U.S. ethanol during the trip.
?I had the real privilege to witness an MOU signing between the U.S. Grains Council and the National Sugarcane Association here in Panama,? Taylor said. ?Panama recently had a decision signed into law to initiate ethanol blending in their gasoline supply, and it was a great opportunity. Our U.S. industry and the Panamanian industry are coming together to help grow this ethanol market here, one that will benefit U.S. producers, Panamanian producers, Panamanian consumers, and the environment.?
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